How Does Smoking Affect the Skeletal System?

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Cigarette smoke has a dramatic affect on the bones, and therefore on the skeletal system as well. Get information on the increased risk for fractures and osteoporosis in cigarette smokers with help from a pulmonary disease research expert in this free video on the effects of smoking.

Part of the Video Series: Effects of Smoking
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Video Transcript

Hello. I am Dr. Davis Burns. I am a professor emeritus at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Cigarette smoking has a very profound effect on the bones. As you age you tend to lose the strength of the bones and cigarette smoking accelerates that rate of loss, particularly in women. The result is that you get fractures of the spine and the spine actually begins to compress. You also are more likely to get other fractures, particularly fractures of the hip, which can be quite life threatening in older people, because they require surgery and are often immobilized for a period of time. There is very little question that the increased risk of osteoporosis is a very profound problem for older people, particularly for older women, because of these consequences of increased fracture both of the spine and of the hip. Obviously the other bones are also more brittle and they may fracture more easily as well.

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