Air pollution can worsen osteoporosis

Leslie Hanson
November 13, 2017

Another small analysis of 692 middle-aged, low-income adults in Boston, United States showed that the higher levels of pollution and black carbon in the environment left patients with lower parathyroid hormones - a hormone related to calcium and bone health - and lower bone mineral density than those in lesser polluted areas.

"Reducing emissions as a result of innovation in technologies or policy changes in emission standards of this modifiable risk factor might reduce the impact of air pollution on bone fracture and osteoporosis", Andrea Baccarelli from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in NY, wrote on the study.

Smoking has also been typically relationship with bone damage and like smoking, air pollution can cause bone fractures. Once an older adult suffers a bone fracture, their risk for death increases by as much as 20 percent, and only 40 percent of those who had fractures regain their independence. The study suggests that the rising air pollution in the environment could adversely affect our bones, especially the elderly.

"Particulate matter, including PM2.5, is known to cause systemic oxidative damage and inflammation, which could accelerate bone loss and increase the risk of bone fractures in older individuals", said researchers led by Andrea Baccarelli, Chair of Environmental Health Sciences at the Columbia University, the US.

They found that even a slight increase in exposure to PM2.5, the inhalable air pollution particulate matter with a diameter of no bigger than 2.5 micrometers, was linked to an increased risk for fractures.

Discussing the newly-found data, Heather Russell, Dietitian at The Vegan Society, told PBN: "It's great to know that researchers have been exploring how bone health may be affected by air pollution, which is a major issue in some cities". This is particularly true for older people. For any further need, you can take notes.

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