Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Secondhand smoke tied to artery disease in women

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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Exposure to secondhand smoke is an important risk factor for peripheral arterial disease, which affects arteries in the legs and may lead to amputation if severe, according to a study among Chinese women.

As shown in prior studies, passive smoking was also linked to heart disease and stroke.

In China, smoking is far more common among men than among women, lead author Dr. Yao He of the Chinese PLA General Hospital in Beijing and colleagues report in the journal Circulation.

Their study involved 1,209 women age 60 and older who had never smoked. Of these women 477 reported secondhand smoke exposure at home or in the workplace for at least 2 years during the previous decade.

The researchers found that secondhand smoke increased the risk of peripheral arterial disease by 67 percent and the risk of heart disease and stroke by 69 and 56 percent, respectively.

As the amount and duration of secondhand smoke exposure increased, so did the risks of these problems, He and colleagues found.

Pointing out that their study provides the first evidence of an association between secondhand smoke and peripheral arterial disease, as well as further validation of the link with heart disease and stroke, He's group calls for urgent public health measures to prevent this health hazard.

SOURCE: Circulation, online September 22, 2008.

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