The Impact of Smoking on Bone Health
Many people know and understand that smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, according to the CDC. It is linked to heart disease, emphysema, lung cancer, mouth cancer, and many other deadly medical conditions. It contributes greatly, as well, to the deterioration of your overall health, physical endurance, and even bone health.
Smoking puts people at greater risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures. People who smoke also have a longer healing time for musculoskeletal injuries, compared to people who do not smoke. This is related to several things, like the body’s ability to supply blood to bones and organs, and hormone imbalances. Continue reading for more information on smoking’s effects on bone health.
Smoking and Bone Loss
While smoking is unhealthy for numerous reasons, its impact on the musculoskeletal system, specifically the bones, is often overlooked. Detrimental effects include some of the following:
- Nicotine narrows blood vessels and constricts blood supply to the bones and the rest of the body.
- Nicotine slows the production of osteoblasts, which are cells responsible for bone production.
- Smoking decreases calcium absorption.
- Smoking affects hormones, including estrogen, which is important for bone growth, maturation, and bone turnover in adults.
- Smoking increases cortisol levels, which is a hormone responsible for bone breakdown.
- Smoking obstructs the hormone calcitonin, which aids in bone development.
Knowing how smoking impacts our bone health and increases our chances of injury and osteoporosis should put a dent in the number of people who still pick up a cigarette now and then. However, more than 16 million Americans have a smoking-related disease, and cigarettes are the cause of more than 480,000 deaths a year in the U.S.
One prime example of how smoking affects the bones is when you take a look at hip fracture patients, as smokers are much more likely to break a hip than non-smokers. Smokers’ life expectancy is also about ten years shorter than non-smokers’.
How to Improve Bone Health
By age 25 or 30, most people have reached their peak bone mass. It is harder to rebuild bone mass once you start to lose more than you make, which occurs as we age. However, there are ways to improve your bone health, including but not limited to the following:
- Quit Smoking
- Take in More Calcium – Eat green vegetables, calcium-fortified foods and beverages, low-fat dairy products, and take calcium supplements.
- Take Vitamin D (this is needed to absorb calcium) – Eat foods rich in vitamin D, get out in the sun, and take vitamin D supplements.
- Avoid Too Much Alcohol
- Get a Bone Density Test (this will measure the strength of your bones)
Visit Chicago Chiropractic & Sports Injury Centers – Chiropractors in Chicago, IL
If you are struggling to quit smoking and improve your physical health, or are trying to rebuild your bone health following quitting, then visit us at Chicago Chiropractic & Sports Injury Centers. We can help you design a treatment plan that will keep you headed towards a smoke-free lifestyle.
Our smoking cessation therapies, like acupuncture in Chicago’s Loop, can aid in kicking the habit. Strength training and other physical therapies we offer help patients regain their strength, endurance, and mobility.
Contact us today to make an appointment and get started on your new path towards a healthier you.