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The Effect of Smoking on Bone Health

Smoking is a well-known risk factor for many health problems, but did you know that it can also impact your bone health? Studies have shown that smoking increases the risk of bone fractures, delays healing times, and can lead to complications. However, quitting smoking can help to reverse some of the effects of smoking on your bones. Keep reading to learn more about the effect of smoking on bone health.

Smoking and Fracture Risk

One of the most well-known effects of smoking on bone health is an increased risk of fracture. A 2022 article in Nature reviewed several studies on the topic and found that most suggest smoking increases the risk of bone fracture. (1) Furthermore, the longer someone smokes and the more cigarettes smoked, the greater the risk of fractures. Also, smokers who do suffer fractures seem to take longer to heal and have a greater chance of suffering complications as a result of the fracture than do nonsmokers. Fortunately, cessation of smoking seems to decrease the risk of low bone mass and fractures.

Smoking and Healing Times

Not only does smoking increase your risk of suffering a fracture, but it can also delay healing times following an injury. A 2008 study looked at data from over 6500 patients who underwent surgery for hip fractures. The study found that smokers had a 25% increase in fracture risk and were nearly twice as likely to experience hip fractures. Smoking also delays bone healing following operations to repair fractures. However, stopping smoking has been shown to partially reverse the risk of suffering fractures, and smoking cessation is recommended for all patients prior to surgery. (2)

Conclusion

The effect of smoking on bone health is significant and far-reaching. Smoking increases the risk of bone fractures, delays healing times, and can lead to complications following surgery. However, quitting smoking can help to reduce some of the negative effects of smoking on bones. If you are a smoker, quitting is the best thing you can do for your overall health—including your bone health.

(1) https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-13356-1
(2) https://www.ncsct.co.uk/usr/pub/smoking_and_bone_health.pdf

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