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Report: Smoking affects women more than men

Millions may have lung problems they’re not aware of



A report from the American Lung Association says women are 37 percent more likely to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, than men—and that millions of women have symptoms that have gone undiagnosed.

Dr. Steven Brown, a pulmonary specialist who has practiced for 25 years, says smoking is a huge issue. He says the first wave of women with COPD was during World War II, when women began smoking at work.

“And these women were unfortunately duped by tobacco marketing during the 1960s,” he says, “where tobacco was linked to the women’s movement, very inappropriately.” The *report says since 2000, COPD has claimed the lives of more women than men, and Brown says women now account for 60 percent of the patients he sees. The number of deaths among women from COPD has more than quadrupled since 1980. COPD is now the nation’s third-leading cause of death, according to the American Lung Association.

Brown says women are more susceptible than men to the problems associated with tobacco smoke because their lung size is smaller. “A pack of cigarettes in a woman is going to be spread out over a smaller area and therefore, is going to be more concentrated,” he explains.

Brown says the best way to combat this problem is with education. He says states also need to continue to legislate against the effects of second-hand smoke. It was in 2010 that Michigan’s law went into effect, banning smoking in all enclosed, indoor workplaces, as well as the outdoor patios of bars and restaurants.

*Read the report at http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/disparities-reports/rise-of-copd-in-women/

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Hope and healing for her

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Help for women alcoholics and their families

(Family Features)

It’s just a few drinks with dinner, or some wine to unwind at the end of the day — that’s not a problem, right? For some women, it’s not. But it’s estimated that 5.3 million women in the U.S. drink in a way that threatens their health. It’s a significant women’s health issue that more people need to be made aware of.

Women and Alcohol

Women are at greater risk for developing alcohol-related problems, and some of that is due to simple biology. When alcohol passes through the digestive tract, it gets dispersed in your body’s water. The more water available, the more diluted the alcohol gets.

Alcohol also gets stored in body fat. Pound for pound, women have less water and more body fat than men do. So even with equal consumption, women’s brains and other organs are exposed to more alcohol and more of the toxic byproducts formed when the body breaks down and eliminates alcohol. This means that women get intoxicated faster than men do. Women also develop alcohol-abuse problems, as well as alcohol-related physical health problems, at lower doses and in less time than men.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) says that women who develop alcoholism have death rates nearly 75 percent higher than male alcoholics. Death from alcohol-related accidents, heart disease, stroke, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide happens more frequently in women.

Barriers to Getting Help

Even with such high risk factors and such dire consequences, fewer women (25 percent) than men (75 percent) are in alcohol treatment programs, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Prevention (NIAAA).

“Women face some significant barriers to getting treatment,” said Molly O’Neill, president and CEO of First Call, (www.firstcallkc.org) an affiliate of NCADD based in Kansas City. “Lack of child care and limited financial resources are two of the biggest practical issues women face. They have a harder time paying for treatment costs and the child care they need in order to attend.”

Getting Help

The good news is that once in recovery, women are more likely to stick with it. And many women take their first steps toward recovery by talking with their healthcare providers.

To make getting access to help easier, and to help other human services agencies manage client care, First Call developed an online program called Community CareLink. “We’ve found that women and children have trouble getting coordinated care,” said O’Neill. “Community CareLink helps facilitate referrals and evaluations, and it gives people access to care they might not otherwise receive. We’re very excited to share this program with agencies all across the country.” (Learn more about Community CareLink at www.mobileccl.org.)






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Women’s Health

A Toast to Your Health

By James N. Martin, Jr, MD
President, the American Congress
of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

For many Americans, having a couple of drinks to unwind at the end of the day or to connect socially with  friends is a fun and occasional indulgence. But for a growing number of women who drink, these occasions have gone from few-and-far-between to routine.

Drinking too much alcohol can cause a slew of negative physical, social, and mental consequences in women such as decreased fertility, menstrual disorders, heart and liver problems, injuries, seizures, malnutrition, and an increased risk of breast, liver, rectal, and head and neck cancers. Loss of income, child neglect or abuse, altered judgment, driving under the influence, and depression may also occur.

So how much is too much? Moderate drinking is defined as no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two per day for men. It’s recommended that women drink less because, pound for pound, they have less water in their bodies to help dilute alcohol and its toxic by-products than men, making them more vulnerable to alcohol-related health problems at lower levels of alcohol intake.

Serving size also matters. One drink equals five ounces of wine, 12 ounces of  beer, eight to nine ounces of malt liquor, or 1.5 ounces (one shot glass) of 80-proof spirits. The large drinks commonly served at bars and restaurants can easily pack three or more servings of alcohol, not to mention hundreds of empty calories.

Thirteen percent of women in the US consume more than seven alcoholic drinks each week. More than one-quarter of women aged 18–25 binge drink, meaning they consume more than three drinks per occasion. Binge drinking causes a sudden peak in the blood alcohol, which can lead to unsafe behavior and a higher risk of reproductive and organ damage.

Many of us don’t realize that we drink too much. Understanding what a reasonable level of consumption is may be enough to encourage some people to cut back. However, others may find that it is hard to curb their drinking or may not stop drinking even though it threatens their health, safety, or relationships. These are signs of alcohol dependence. Women are often more reluctant than men to admit that they need help or have an addiction, fearing repercussions at work or with the police, social isolation, or the loss of their children. But the sooner the problem is addressed, the better.

If you think you may have a drinking problem, talk to your doctor. He or she can be an excellent resource for advice and information and can refer you to support groups that can help.

For more information, the Patient Education Pamphlet “Alcohol and Women” is available at www.acog.org/publications/ patient_education/.

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Turkey hunting workshops for women in January

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment is offering turkey hunting workshops in January in cooperation with Gander Mountain. These workshops are part of the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program.
BOW is a noncompetitive program in which each individual is encouraged to learn at her own pace. The emphasis is on the enjoyment, fun and camaraderie of outdoor activities, and sharing in the success of one another.
In each two-hour workshop, instructors will provide participants will all of the information needed to begin turkey hunting. The workshops include season rules and regulations, habitat, scouting, patterning, hunting technique and will cover different types of equipment needed for a successful hunt.
Participants must pre-register for this workshop as space is limited. Young hunters ages 10 and older are welcome when accompanied by an adult. The cost per person is $10 and includes all workshop materials, including a turkey call.
Workshop dates are:
*Saturday, Jan. 15, from 1-3 p.m. at Gander Mountain, 2890 Acquest Avenue, SE,
Grand Rapids, MI 49512. Registration deadline Jan. 12.
*Wednesday, Jan. 19, from 6-8:30 p.m. at Gander Mountain, 430 N. Marketplace, Lansing, MI  48917. Registration deadline Jan. 17.
For registration forms and information on this and other BOW programs, visit www.michigan.gov/bow, call 517-241-2225 or email dnr-outdoors-woman@michigan.gov.

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