As we continue to think about the wellbeing of women during National Women’s Health week, smoking rates among females comes to mind. It may surprise you to learn that smoking increases the risk of heart disease and stroke by 2 to 4 times. Also, women who smoke have a 25 percent higher risk of developing heart disease as compared to men who smoke. And, continuing to smoke throughout your life shaves 13-14 years off of your life expectancy. So, despite beliefs to the contrary, smoking doesn’t just cause a risk for lung cancer.
And Along Comes Baby
As you would imagine, smoking during pregnancy causes a whole new set of health concerns for the unborn child. In fact, it has been shown to reduce the production of a chemical that relaxes blood vessels and can lead to lowered blood flow to the fetus, resulting in lower birth weight, shorter length and smaller head circumference. If an expectant mother stops smoking early in pregnancy, enzyme levels return to normal and the infant is born at normal birth weight. Here in Pennsylvania we are ranked 35 out of 50 with 15.6% of pregnant women smoking.
To learn about resources for quitting smoking and to show your legislators that stroke and heart health issues are important to you, please visit our Take Action center to send your supportive message today and encourage others to send a message through Facebook.