If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to stop smoking, this just might light a fire under you. Consider the affect it has on your bones.
“Smoking is a big factor as far as healing and infections and the time it may take for the bone to heal with someone who is a smoker vs. non-smoker. It’s a significant difference,” says Dr. Ed Humbert, orthopedic surgeon on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
A non-smoker with a broken femur may take up to 20 weeks to heal; the smoker can expect an extra 8-10 weeks. One theory is that smoking deprives the tissues of oxygen, which affects the blood supply.
“Which again puts the incisions at risk of not healing, which would make them more prone to get infections. So I mean smoking affects every organ in your body. That doesn’t exclude bones,” says Dr. Humbert.
Compounding the situation is the impact smoking has on your future bone health.
“What it can do is reduce your cardiovascular capacity; it may make you less likely to do weight baring exercises. Because you’re a smoker, now your aerobic capacity is lessened. In general a smoker will go down the road of osteoporosis sooner then they would have if they weren’t smoking,” says Dr. Humbert.
Knowing this may strengthen your resolve to kick the habit this year.