Smoking and its Effect on Osteoporosis

One of the most common detrimental habits people have is smoking along with uncontrollable drinking and binge eating. We all are aware of the damaging effects of tobacco on our health. Smoking causes a plethora of diseases, such as heart diseases, lung cancer, mouth and esophageal tumors and cancers, as well as other lung diseases. According to research, smoking might also have a significant negative effect on bone mass and density and cause Osteoporosis as a result.

What is Osteoporosis?

It is a disorder in which the bones become weak, lose density and as a result are more likely to break in case of a trauma. In some cases, the damage is so severe that a high-five can cause a broken wrist and even the merest hugs can crack ribs. This leads to intense pain, decreases mobility, can cause disability and even cause death due to a fall that may break too many bones at once. Needless to say, osteoporosis can become a dangerous disorder if it is left to worsen and proper care as well as treatment is not taken in time.

This disease is so widespread that it affects over 40 million Americans, most of which are women. The symptoms are usually worse for people who smoke. There are other factors that worsen the condition, such as being too thin, being overweight, having a genetically weak structure, not being active, consuming too much alcohol, irregular menstrual cycle and menopause. 

Blood pressure is known as the silent killer, but what most people do not realize is that osteoporosis is equally, if not more, dangerous, hence the name, silent disease has been given to it. Many people do not realize they are suffering from osteoporosis until it is too late. You may not know that osteoporosis has been developing in your body until you begin to suffer from a consistent pain and get doctor’s consultation on it or if you suffer a facture and the x-ray proves you have the disorder.

Smoking and Its Effect on Bone Density

Healthy habits can prevent the disorder and unhealthy ones can speed up your progress towards the disease. Studies have shown smoking has a direct effect on development of osteoporosis through thinning and weakening of bones. According to research, women who smoke also suffer from irregular menstrual cycles which may also aggravate the condition. These women also hit menopause early and as a result are more likely to develop osteoporosis. It is not only the tobacco that acts as the aggravating factor but a lot of other compounds that are present in cigarettes act as toxins and carcinogens.

Cigarette smoking reduces the bone mass significantly more in women than men and more so in women who are postmenopausal. The hormonal changes that take place within the body of a woman are aggravated by smoking which puts women at greater risk of developing this disorder.


Smoking also causes hormonal changes in our bodies that may put one more at risk of decreasing bone density compared to a non-smoker. Tobacco smoke promotes the destruction of sex hormones, such as estrogen, in a woman’s body, which enables osteoporosis to develop rapidly. This directly affects the bone mass in women. The same effect is seen in women who hit menopause and lose estrogen in their bodies which affects the bone mass directly and causes osteoporosis. By having a similar effect on estrogen as menopause, tobacco smoking mimics its effects on women.


Cortisol is the stress hormone in our bodies. When cortisol levels increase in our body, our stress levels increase as well. Smokers have a higher level of cortisol in their bodies which has a direct effect on their stress levels. According to studies, the cortisol hormone aggravates the damage to our bones and causes the bones to get weaker, by attacking them. Due to an increase in stress, bones get weaker and smokers are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis.


Finally, smoking has a knack for blocking and inhibiting the action of the hormone known as calcitonin. This hormone is directly responsible for delivering calcium from our blood to our bones. This hormone minimizes the breakdown of our bones as well. In smokers, these actions are prevented, which steadily decreases the bone density and promotes osteoporosis. A habit as dangerous as smoking that causes a plethora of health problems and brings no positive changes to your life needs to be stopped without further delay. Everyone has an option to choose between a healthy and an unhealthy life. Your choice will define the years that lie ahead of you and the quality of life you are able to enjoy, so choose wisely.

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