Can Smoking Damage your Bone Health?

Smoking cigarettes has long been known to have detrimental effects on the physical body.But, recent researches has also shown that smoking cigarettes has significant effects on the bone health too.

Several research studies have identified smoking as one of the major risk factors for osteoporosis and bone fracture. Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones weaken and are more likely to fracture (break). Fractures from osteoporosis can result in pain, disability, and sometimes death.

How smoking affects bone health?

  • Smoking increases the risk of bone and joint fracture.
  • Smoking reduces blood supply to the bones.
  • It slows down the production of bone-forming cells.
  • It reduces the protective effect of estrogen replacement therapy in the body.
  • It decreases bone density, bone formation and delays the formation of new bones.
  • It takes more time for bone fracture to heal in case of smokers than nonsmokers. One may also experience several complications during the healing process.
  • In older men and women who smoke, there is a significant bone loss.
  • Women who smoke continuously are greater risk of increased bone loss.
  • In case of postmenopausal, smoking in women increases the risk of hip fracture.
  • Smoking may double the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in postmenopausal women.
  • Exposure to second-hand smoke during childhood may increase the risk of low bone mass in later life.

Why are bones affected by smoking?

Bones are nourished by blood like the other organs and tissues in the body. Bones get all the nutrients, minerals, and oxygen through the blood stream. Smoking elevates the levels of nicotine in the blood and this causes the blood vessels to constrict. Nicotine constricts blood vessels approximately 25% of their normal diameter. Due to this constriction of the vessels, decreased levels of nutrients are supplied to the bones. In this way smoking affects bone health.