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Smoking Linked to Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm in Women

Events are eight times more common in current older smokers than in never smokers

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) -- In postmenopausal women, current smoking significantly increases the risk of abdominal aortic aneurysms, according to the results of a study published online Oct. 14 in BMJ Online First.

Frank A. Lederle, M.D., of the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis, and colleagues studied 161,808 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 who were enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative. After a mean follow-up of 7.8 years, they identified 184 abdominal aortic aneurysm events (repairs and ruptures).

The researchers found that such events were significantly more common in current smokers versus never smokers (odds ratio 8.73) and in current smokers versus past smokers (OR, 4.19). They also found positive associations for coronary artery disease (OR, 2.38) and hypertension (OR, 2.14), and negative associations for diabetes (OR, 0.29) and current use of hormone therapy (OR, 0.48).

"Getting women to stop smoking is a public health priority," state the authors of an accompanying editorial. "The problem of high mortality from abdominal aortic aneurysm in men is being tackled by population screening programs focused on men. In the United States screening is in place for women with a strong family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm, but if the incidence of this disorder in women continues to rise, population screening for women who have smoked or continue to smoke might need to be considered."

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