It’s nothing that people haven’t heard before – Smoking is bad for you. However, smoking which is the number one cause of preventable deaths has a devastating effect on more than just the lungs. Smoking tobacco impacts the heart, lungs and has serious and lasting negative impacts on the bones and muscles in the body known as the musculoskeletal system.
Smoking and the Negative Health Impacts
Smoking Increases the risk of developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones in the body become weak and brittle. Elderly smokers are 30-40% more likely to break their hips than non-smokers the same age. Individuals over the age of 30 losses bone mass 150 – 200% faster due to smoking. Thought the whole body losses bone mass the spine, hips and wrists are the most negatively affected. Smoking weakens the bones in many ways, including:
- The body constantly absorbs and replaces bones tissue. Nicotine in cigarettes slows the production of bone-forming which causes less bone to be made.
- Smoking reduces the blood supply to bones, just as it does too many other body parts.
- Smoking breaks down estrogen in the body more quickly which overtime significantly lowers estrogen levels in both men and women. This doesn’t just affect woman, estrogen is used is both the male and female body to build and maintain a strong Skelton system.
- Smoking decreases the absorption of calcium from the diet. Calcium is necessary for bone mineralization, and with less bone mineral, smokers develop fragile bones.
Increased Risk in Injury, Healing and Disease
Smoking can lead to decreased appetite resulting in being too thin. Nicotine signals the brain to eat less and can prevent the body from getting adequate nutrition which can lead to an array of health problems.
- Smokers are 1.5 times more likely to suffer from overuse injuries, such as bursitis or tendonitis, than no smokers.
- Smokers are more likely to suffer from traumatic injuries, such as sprains and fractures.
- Smoking is also associated with a higher risk of low back pain and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Smoking slows lung growth and impairs lung function; this means less oxygen is available for muscles when participating in sports. Smokers also suffer from shortness of breath almost three times more often than nonsmokers. Smokers cannot run or walk as fast or as far as nonsmokers.
- Fractures take longer to heal in smokers because of the harmful effects of nicotine on the production of bone-forming cells.
- Smokers also have a higher rate of complications after surgery than nonsmokers — such as poor wound healing and infection — and outcomes are less satisfactory. This is related to the decrease in blood supply to the tissues.
- Smokers who undergo surgery are at a higher risk for post-surgical complications such as poor wound healing and infection.
We’re here to help
It’s never too late for lifetime smokers to make a change. By quitting smoking the damage done to the body can be stopped and sometimes even reversed. Quitting smoking also decreases the risk of osteoporosis. If you’ve been a smoker and are concerned about your musculoskeletal health, please call WCMI Orthopedics today. With three locations throughout the west coast of Florida our team of doctors and staff are here for you.