May 19, 2009

Women more vulnerable to lung damage

HEALTH - Women may be more vulnerable to lung damage from smoking than men, according to new research.

In a study looking at chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital, part of Harvard University Medical School, and the University of Bergen in Norway found that female smokers experienced reduced lung function at a lower level of exposure and at a younger age than male smokers.

"There's an important public health message here," says senior author Dr. Dawn DeMeo, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard. "Many women believe their smoking is too limited to be harmful, that a few cigarettes a day is a minimal risk. Our research shows there's no safe amount, especially for women."

The study, presented yesterday at the American Thoracic Society conference in San Diego, analyzed data from Norway of current and former smokers, 954 of whom had COPD; 955 were controls.

The gender differences were most pronounced among COPD patients under the age of 60, considered early onset, and those who smoked less than a pack a day for 20 years, the low-exposure group.

COPD is a progressive disease characterized by increasingly difficult breathing. It is most often caused by cigarette smoking and includes the conditions emphysema and chronic bronchitis

Another study, also reported this month, looked at 683 lung cancer patients at a Swiss treatment centre. It found that women tended to be younger when they got cancer even though, on average, they had smoked less than the men, suggesting an increased susceptibility.

The findings were presented earlier this month at the European Multidisciplinary Conference in Thoracic Oncology in Switzerland.

Previous research has also indicated an increased female vulnerability. "The idea has been around for 10 to 15 years. The evidence is building up piece by piece," says Dr. Donna Stewart, chair of women's health at the University Health Network, in Toronto.

But no one knows why there might be a gender difference.

"One theory is that women have smaller lungs than men, so each cigarette does more harm," says Dr. Inga-Cecilie Soerheim, lead author on the COPD study.

Another possible explanation is that men and women metabolize cigarette smoke differently. An enzyme involved in metabolizing drugs and tobacco smoke is regulated by estrogen, Stewart explains. Genetic factors may also be at play.

Roberta Ferrence, executive director of the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, is cautious about putting too much emphasis on gender differences.

"It's very difficult to figure out what's biological, genetic, environmental, behavioural. Even the type of cigarette and how it's smoked is part of it," she says.

"It's a complex mix. The bottom line is that everyone should quit and nobody should start," adds Ferrence.

In Canada, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments containing links will be marked as spam and not approved. We moderate every comment. If you want to advertise on this blog it is $30 per link.

Affordable Website Design & SEO

Looking for a quality professional website designer? Why not go where the smart money is?! Toronto Website Design and Toronto SEO. Get free SEO advice from people who really know the business.

Featured Posts

The Sarcasm Symbol
Ever had some confusion online or with your cellphone when someone fails to catch the sarcasm? Well now with the SarcMark you can ge...
Behold, the Scorpion Hydrogen Supercar
CARS - To the right is the future of supercars... it is a hydrogen supercar called the Scorpion. The Scorpion from Ronn Motors in Texas is t...
Documents show Stephen Harper misusing public funds
CANADA - According to 950+ pages of documents obtained by the Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act the Privy Coun...
Pink's Rosie the Riveter
ENTERTAINMENT - What I like about this video is how it meshes different social movements like feminism, veganism, anti-capitalism...
California's Dustbowl
ENVIRONMENT - The photo on the right is a farm in California that has been put up for sale. Its just one of thousands of farms that are n...
Is Steampunk the New Goth???
GOTHIC - Watch out what you see on the subway late at night because while in 2001 you might have seen some pretty freakish goths, by 20...
Do you have enough Ice Water in your diet?
HEALTH - A Calorie (large C) is a measurement of the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of a litre of water (1 kg's worth) ...
North Korean timeline towards Inevitable War
POLITICS - The following is timeline of events that have occurred on the Korean Peninsula. 1945 - Japan surrenders to the United States a...
Judgment Day is Tomorrow, so sayeth Cult
RELIGION - According to a cult based in California, Judgement Day is tomorrow (May 21st 2011) and Jesus Christ will return to the Earth a...
Sex in Space Forbidden
SEX/TECHNOLOGY - Sex in outer space is a big no-no according to NASA. Not for professional astronauts at least, but the growing numb...

Popular Posts