Smoking is a leading cause of health complications that detrimentally impacts your body from head to toe. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that smoking can also have a serious impact on their bone health. Prolonged smoking not only impairs the strength of the bones and reduces bone mass, but it can also lead to increased risk of fractures, osteoporosis and even death.
Cigarette Smoking and Bone Loss
Cigarette smoking significantly increases the risk of bone loss. The chemicals found in cigarettes can weaken bone structure and make it harder for the body to break down and reabsorb old bone cells. This makes it difficult for the body to build new, healthy bones. It also decreases the number of cells that produce collagen, a fiber-like protein that gives bones their strength and rigidity.
Smoking and Osteoporosis
Smoking may also increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition where bones become weak, brittle and prone to fractures. Research has shown that smokers are more likely to develop osteoporosis and also take longer to recover from broken bones. They’re also more likely to experience complications and death after suffering a broken bone.
Smoking and Bone Healing
Smoking can also interfere with the healing process after a fracture. When a bone is broken, the body must form new, healthy cells to build and repair the damaged bone. However, smoking can reduce the body’s ability to produce the collagen, hormones, and proteins needed for this process.
The Dangers of Smoking and Bone Health
The risks of smoking and bone health are clear. Smokers are at higher risk for weakened bones, osteoporosis, and slower healing times from broken bones. Furthermore, if a smoker does experience a broken bone, the risk of complications and death is increased. Given all of these risks, it is important for smokers to take steps to reduce their risk and protect their bone health, such as quitting smoking, getting regular exercise and proper nutrition, and reducing their risk of falls as they age.