How Smoking Can Increase Your Osteoporosis Risk

smoking osteoIt has been known for a long time that smoking cigarettes can place you at a much greater risk for osteoporosis and fracturing bones. This really is not new information; scientists first noticed the link between smoking and osteoporosis in research conducted around 20 years ago. However, it has never been clear exactly what causes this is to happen and what the underlying mechanism is.

Now, however, new research has promised to shed some light onto the area. A study in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Proteome Research is revealing exactly how cigarette smoke can weaken the bones.  The report concluded that cigarette smoke can make people produce large amounts of two proteins that can trigger a natural process that causes bones to break down.

The authors of the study pointed out that previous research has suggested that it was the toxins in cigarette smoke that weakened bones. The toxins do this by affecting the activity of osteoblasts, the cells which build new bone, and osteoclasts, which break down old bone. This can result in osteoporosis which is known to increase the risk of fractures and is a major cause of disability and even death in elderly people.

This was what had been generally believed, but to look deeper into the cause, the scientists analysed differences in the genetic activity in the bone marrow cells of smokers and non-smokers. They found that smokers produced unusually high levels of the two proteins compared to non-smokers.

That means that if you smoke you could be putting yourself at a much higher risk of fracturing your bones due to osteoporosis. As with most health concerns, giving up smoking is a good idea and it can improve your quality of life and your lifespan.

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