World No Tobacco Day 2023: Smoking Linked to Brittle Bones and Higher Fracture Chance
Smoking can indeed contribute to bone loss and increase the risk of fractures. Research has shown that smoking is associated with reduced bone mineral density, which can lead to weakened bones and a higher likelihood of fractures. The detrimental effects of smoking on bone health are believed to be caused by several factors, including the harmful substances in tobacco smoke, such as nicotine and carbon monoxide, which can disrupt the normal balance of bone remodeling.
While smoking can impact bone health at any age, the risk of fractures may be particularly high among senior citizens. This is because aging already naturally leads to a decrease in bone density and strength, and smoking can further accelerate this process. Additionally, older individuals may have a slower healing process, making it more difficult to recover from fractures.
“The ill effects of smoking are not restricted to the heart and lungs it can adversely affect bones too. Smoking steals off key nutrients and directly impacts bone mineral density (BMD), which will make bones brittle and prone to fractures. It is also known to have a negative impact on fracture healing and may cause delayed union or non-union. Due to smokin,g blood vessels get constricted and it affects blood flow due to which bones do not get the required amount of nutrition, and heal well. With limited nourishment, the skeletal system cannot build strong bones,” says Dr Thirumalesh K Reddy, Sr. and Lead Consultant – Joint Replacement and Arthroscopic Surgery, Aster CMI Hospital.
Though it is feel good and healthy to be on the lower side of the weight scale, smoking may lead to unhealthy weight loss which may lead to poor bone health, increasing the chances of osteoporosis and other bone-related illnesses.
Considering the above details, smoking cessation is essential for bone health. “Along with saying no to smoking, it is mandatory to have lifestyle changes like avoiding a sedentary lifestyle, exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, consuming a calcium-rich diet, and getting enough amount of vitamin D which will enable calcium absorption will also help,” adds Dr Reddy.
Since the impact of smoking can be reversible, health markers and bone health can be brought to back to normal, it is advisable to stop smoking and embrace a healthy lifestyle.
It’s worth noting that quitting smoking can have positive effects on bone health. Studies have shown that individuals who quit smoking can experience an improvement in bone density and a reduction in fracture risk over time. Therefore, it is important for senior citizens and individuals of all ages to prioritize smoking cessation to protect their bone health and overall well-being.
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