Risks of Smoking at An Older Age

We are all aware that the risks of smoking are vast and deadly. The main dangers of smoking are related to the lungs and cardiovascular system. Because smoking affects the heart and arteries, it raises the risk of both women and men suffering from an aneurysm.

According to a recent study, both men and women are both likely to develop fatal aneurysms in the main artery that leads to the heart. There are guidelines already in place for men over the age of 65 to be screened for a type of aneurysm by the name of "abdominal aortic aneurysm." But there are new studies suggesting that women have just as high of risks as men, and it is necessary for women to also be advised to get the same screening done.

What happens during an abdominal aortic aneurysm?

The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body. This vessel from the heart through the abdomen and delivers blood throughout the body. What happens during the abdominal aortic aneurysm is the aorta swells to a larger size and if it bursts it can be fatal.

What are the symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm?

Those that suffer from this type of aneurysm experience symptoms such as:

  • A pulsing feeling surrounding the head
  • Swelling or pain in the stomach area

What are the other health concerns for smokers?

There are other health problems that could heighten your risk of potentially experiencing this type of aneurysm. Those that have high blood pressure or have had heart surgery have increased their risk of experiencing an aneurysm. It is important to know your family history because that can increase your risk, along with high cholesterol.

What if you quit smoking years ago?

Although your risks are lowered, the current study has shown that both men and women who have ever smoked regularly in their lives, and are between the ages of 65-75 should get an abdominal ultrasound. This is a precautionary way to find out if you are at risk of an aneurysm and the treatment that is available.

Prevention

There are several ways to help prevent an aneurysm. The obvious one, is to quit smoking. This will dramatically lower your risk of causing any more damage to your heart and aorta. The second step is to keep track of your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and weight. All of these can worsen the strength and function ability of your organs, and can raise your risk of having a heart attack, heart disease or an aneurysm. 

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