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Smog affects bone health: risk of osteoporosis


That smog is harmful to our bodies has long been known. Among the many problems that elevated smog can lead to are definitely those related to the respiratory tract, which affect children, the elderly and asthma sufferers to a greater extent. In addition to damaging our respiratory system, smog, according to a recent study, would also have a strong negative influence on our bones, reducing their density and thus increasing the risk of developing diseases such asosteoporosis. Let us look in detail at the contents of this research.

The study

Sounding the alarm is a group of scientists and researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, with research published in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health. In fact, according to scholars, a high level of smog in the atmosphere would also have a negative influence on our bones. In fact, smog would cause a reduction in bone tissue density, thus causing bones to weaken and increasing the risk of osteoporosis. According to research, smog is also associated with reduced concentration of parathyroid hormone in the blood (the hormone that presides over calcium absorption and plays a role in bone mineralization).

The stages of research

Through this study, it was noted that as the levels of smog and pollution in the atmosphere increase, there is a higher number of patients reporting fractures, in different parts of the body. Specifically, the research was carried out in two stages:

  • In the first phase, scholars analyzed about 9.2 million cases of osteoporosis-related fracture hospitalizations, and noted that even a small increase in smog levels caused an increase in fractures among the elderly
  • In the  second phase, on the other hand, 692 middle-aged individuals from different locations were examined. In this regard, it has been noted that individuals living in more polluted areas have lower bone density and a reduced amount of par athyroid hormone in the blood.

From the results of this very interesting research, it becomes even more clear how important it is to adopt environmental policies that can decrease the levels of smog and pollution in the atmosphere, first and foremost for the health of the environment, but also for that of our bodies. In fact, smog, as it turns out, besides damaging our respiratory system, causing cardiovascular diseases, cancers and cognitive disorders, is also a real danger to the health of our bones, which are increasingly prone to osteoporosis.


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