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Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates

Monday, December 18, 2017

Bad Air, Bad Bones?

We all know that air pollution is harmful to your lungs, but new research is now saying that it can be damaging to your bones as well.

A recent study in The Lancet Planetary Health found that air pollution increased the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis in people over 65 years. Osteoporosis is a serious condition caused by decreased bone mineral density leaving bones brittle, weak and susceptible to breaks.

Data was collected from two independent studies--one tracking hospital admissions among 9.2 million Medicare patients in the Northeast over an eight-year period, and another analyzed a specific parathyroid hormone (which supports bone health) in nearly 700 low-income men living in Boston.

Here are the highlights:
  • The potential for bone fractures among those over age 65 years increased steadily as levels of air pollution increased.
  • Those living in locations with higher levels of air pollution (such as industrial areas) had lower concentrations of the parathyroid hormone and lower bone density.
  • Air pollution was likened to a form of diluted smoking which can cause cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and diminished bone density.
In addition to avoiding areas with heavy smog and poor air quality, other ways to protect yourself against osteoporosis include following a diet rich in calcium, taking calcium supplements as needed, and exercising regularly to keep bones and joints strong.

If you are interested in scheduling a bone density exam, or speaking with one of our specialists about your bone health, please contact us here for an appointment.

(Adapted from The New York Times-Well)

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