Smoking and Musculoskeletal Health

Impact of Smoking on Health

Smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable death. Each year over 440,000 people in the United States alone die from tobacco-related diseases. Indeed, tobacco smokers can expect to live 7 to 10 years less than nonsmokers. Smoking is related to heart and respiratory diseases and to several cancers. Many people are not aware that smoking has a serious negative effect on your bones and joints. That’s why Audrain Orthopaedics has this really important information for individuals in Mexico, Moberly, Columbia, and Centralia, MO.

arm injury mexico missouri mid mo xray orthopedic surgery musculoskeletal healthEffects of Smoking on Musculoskeletal Health

Every tissue within your body is affected by smoking, but some effects are reversible. By staying away from or quitting smoking, you can decrease your risk for incurring many conditions. Giving up smoking can also help your body recover some of its normal healthy functioning.

Here is what scientists have found about the relationship between tobacco use and musculoskeletal health.

  • Smoking boosts your risk of developing osteoporosis - a weakness of bone that causes fractures. Elderly smokers are 30% to 40% more prone to break their hips than their non-smoking counterparts. Smoking weakens bones in a number of ways, including:
    • Studies have shown that smoking decreases the blood supply to bones, just as it does to many other body tissues.
    • The nicotine inside cigarettes slows the creation of bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) so that they make less bone.
    • Smoking decreases the absorption of calcium from the diet. Calcium is necessary for bone mineralization, and with less bone mineral, smokers develop fragile bones (osteoporosis).
    • Smoking seems to break down estrogen in the body more rapidly. Estrogen is very important to build and maintain a strong skeleton in men and women.
  • Smoking also impacts the other tissues that make up the musculoskeletal system, raising the risk of injury and disease for people in the Central Missouri area.
    • Rotator cuff (shoulder) tears in smokers are nearly twice as large as those in nonsmokers, which is most likely related to the quality of these tendons in smokers.
    • Smokers are one and a half times more prone to suffer from overuse injuries, such as bursitis or tendonitis, compared to nonsmokers.
    • Smokers are also more prone to sustain traumatic injuries, such as sprains or fractures.
    • Smoking is also connected with a higher risk of lower back pain and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Smoking has a negative effect on fracture and injury healing.
    • Fractures take more time to heal in smokers due to the harmful effects of nicotine on the manufacture of bone-forming cells.
    • Smokers also have a higher rate of complications after surgery than nonsmokers - like poor wound healing and infection - and outcomes are less satisfactory. This is connected with the decrease in blood flow to the tissues.
  • Smoking has a damaging effect on athletic performance.
    • Because smoking slows lung growth and impairs lung function, there is less oxygen available for muscles used in sports. Smokers are afflicted with shortness of breath almost three times more frequently than nonsmokers. Smokers are unable to run or walk as fast or as far as nonsmokers.
  • Smoking can make you too thin and put you at increased risk for fractures. Nicotine signals the brain to eat less and can stop the body from getting sufficient nutrition. Having a good body weight is important for general health.

If you have any other questions regarding orthopedic medicine, Dr. Kathleen Weaver at Audrain Orthopaedics in Mexico, MO is an excellent place to go to find the answers you need.

It seems like every time I come to see you, everything goes right for me.

G.B. age 72