Smoking and Osteoporosis: What You Can Do Today

Smoking and Osteoporosis

As you get older, the effects of smoking on your body become more obvious than they used to. Even though many of them are reversible, preventive awareness is highly necessary for making lifestyle-related decisions because smoking and osteoporosis don’t mix well.  At all.

Smokers increase their chances of developing osteoporosis regardless of when they acquired the habit. Whether you already have the condition or suspect you may face it in the future, this information can help you take the next step toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Learn about smoking and osteoporosis:

How Does Tobacco Affect Your Bones?

In the article The Effect of Tobacco Smoking on Bone Mass: An Overview of Pathophysiologic Mechanisms, published in the Hindawi Journal of Osteoporosis, scientists talk about tobacco causing an imbalance in bone turnover.

Meaning, your bone tissue isn’t renewing itself properly. This leads to lower bone mass, making the organism vulnerable to osteoporosis.

Interestingly enough, tobacco affects your bones indirectly. It influences your weight, adrenal hormones, and sex hormones. The chemicals increase the oxidative stress on bony tissues, making your bones delicate and brittle. It’s worth noting that second-hand smoke can affect your bone mass as well.

Additionally, smoking increases the risks of fractures in other ways. It has an adverse effect on blood vessels, thus reducing the sensitivity in feet and leading to falls. When smokers with osteoporosis fracture a bone, it heals slower due to a poor blood supply.

Doesn’t Smoking Just Affect Older People?

Some people mistakenly believe that osteoporosis is a disease of the elderly. However, it can affect young patients as well.

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According to Gothenburg Osteoporosis and Obesity Determinants (GOOD) study, which measured bone strength in over 1,000 men between 18 and 20 years old, smokers’ bone density was lower than non-smokers’ was.

The most unfortunate effects were in the hips, where the mineral density was over 5 percent lower than in the hips of non-smokers. For reference, a 10 percent bone mineral density loss increases the risk of fracture by 100%

“Though smoking has previously been linked to low bone density in the elderly population, its effects on adolescents has remained controversial. Now, we clearly demonstrate that young smokers also have significant losses in bone density,” said Mattias Lorentzon, the study’s lead author.

Smoking interferes with the development of bone mass. Since the peak of the bone mass development occurs before women turn 18 and men turn 20, smoking during that period could hinder the process.

Smoking And Osteoporosis, Will Quitting Smoking Help?

No matter how long you’ve been smoking and how badly your bones are damaged by it, quitting can help.

Strengthening your bones is a long process. It may take years to fix the damage done by smoking. Some of it may not be reversible. However, by quitting smoking, you are giving your body an excellent chance to heal.

Heavy smokers need more time to recover than lighter smokers do. However, after some time, all of them experience an improvement.

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According to a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, former smokers had a higher bone density than current smokers. Improvements were recorded after a 10-year period. Another study published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research Journal showed that some postmenopausal women, who stop smoking experience bone density improvements in just one year after quitting.

Even though it may take some time for the bones to recover, quitting smoking is an integral part of osteoporosis prevention and health restoration.  Smoking and osteoporosis do not mix.

Final Thoughts

Smoking and osteoporosis often go hand in hand. The habit can reduce bone mass, thus leading to frequent fractures. Tobacco affects our bone health indirectly, but it does it nevertheless.

Quitting smoking gives osteoporosis sufferers a chance to restore their bone mass. No matter how old the habit is, the majority of its effects on the bones can be reversed with time.

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