A recent study has found that women who smoke cigarettes are just as likely to develop aneurysms in the main artery from the heart as men. At present there are only guidelines to have smoking men over the age of 65 screened for an abdominal aortic aneurysm, a fatal condition, but now this new study has opened the gates and has raised the question if women should be screened too.
A senior lecturer, Dr Eiman Jahangir, from the University of Queensland School of Medicine, said, "Smoking is a major risk factor for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) and the risk appears to be as strong among women".
The condition comes about when an individuals aorta swells up so much that it ruptures causing massive internal bleeding. Since the the aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body that plays a vital role of delivering blood this is usually fatal. If caught early enough via a screening test the condition can often be treated with surgery by reducing the swelling and replacing the weakened section of the blood vessel with synthetic tubing.
Most cases of AAA occur in those over 65 with the main symptoms including a pulsing feeling, swelling or stomach pain.