By Amy Reineke
There are some very specific dangers in regards to smoking and women’s health.
If more women can quit tobacco, it would be a major victory for health services worldwide. It would help prevent millions of unnecessary deaths and save a huge amount in health care costs. And it would make the next generation healthier.
Need a reason to quit? Here are several:
Decreased bone density. Women who’ve gone through menopause and who smoke have lower bone density, which means they have a higher chance of breaking a hip.
Rheumatoid arthritis. Women who smoke are more likely to get rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an inflammatory, chronic disease. People with RA have swelling and pain in their joints.
Cataracts. Women who smoke are more likely to get cataracts that make their vision cloudy or foggy.
Gum disease. Smoking is linked to gum disease, which may lead to bone and tooth loss.
Ulcers. Smokers with gum disease are also more likely to get ulcers in the stomach, which can lead to death.
Surgery. Smokers have lower survival rates after surgery and are more likely to have complications and poor wound healing.
Depression. It’s important for women to know about the link between smoking and depression; women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with depression.
Menstrual problems. Some studies show that women who smoke have more irregular or painful periods.
Menopause. Smokers are more likely to go through menopause at a younger age, and may have worse symptoms.
Pregnancy. Women who smoke may have a harder time getting pregnant and have a higher chance of losing their baby before it is born. Studies show there is an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome, also called crib death, in babies born to smokers.
Breathing. Teen girls who smoke have lungs that don’t grow as much as non-smokers’ lungs, and adult women who smoke have lungs that don’t work as well as others’.
There are resources to help you become a non-user. Contact your physician, check with your insurance company or employer, or contact QuitPlan at 1-888-354-7526 or www.quitplan.com.
Amy Reineke is a health educator with Douglas County Public Health.