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Smoking Increases Osteoporosis Risk

nd-Hand Smoke, First-Hand Problem

In the first ever analysis of the effects of second-hand smoke on bone density, researchers in the U.S. have found that Chinese men and pre-menopausal women have significantly lower bone density if they are exposed to second-hand smoke, even if they are themselves smokers (see conference Abstract No. P114).

Yu-Hsiang Hsu and colleagues from the Harvard School of Public Health measured hip bone mineral density in over 14,000 men and women in rural China--hip fractures are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. They also used recorded non-spine fractures and smoking history.

When they correlated smoking with osteoporosis and fracture history, they found that the largest effects were seen in pre-menopausal, non-smoking women--only 6% of women in the study were smokers, versus 87% of men. ‘Compared to non-smokers that are not exposed to second-hand smoke, premenopausal women exposed to second-hand smoke have a threefold higher risk of having osteoporosis and a 2.6 times greater risk for a non-spine fracture,’ said Hsu. Though smoking itself is a risk factor for osteoporosis, Hsu and colleagues also deduced that smokers were at increased risk if they were also exposed to smoke from other family members on a daily basis.

Though this is the first reported study of the effects of second-hand smoke on bone health, previous studies have reported that second-hand smoke may alter levels of estrogen, which is a key hormone for bone health in both women and men, Hsu explained. ‘Our finding is consistent with this hypothesis,’ said Hsu, who now plans a follow up study to correlate serum levels of cotinine, a nicotine derivative that only appears in blood of those exposed to tobacco smoke, with serum hormone levels.

(Source: Eurkalert)
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