Why does smoking affect bone loss?

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Question from PatriciaS: We all know that smoking is hazardous to your health. However, why does it tend to make a person more susceptible to osteoporosis? Does it rob the body of calcium?
Answers - Marisa Weiss, M.D. Smoking can affect many ways in which the body functions. Smoking brings no benefit to any organ system. It can affect all the small blood vessels that go into each organ including the bones. Significant smoking has a definite and significant bad effect on bone health. If you are smoking still, try to work closely with your doctor on a smoking cessation program. This could be one of the healthiest changes you can make in your life. Doing it on your own is so difficult. Take advantage of support groups. There are nicotine patches or gum that can help. Some people benefit from medications like Wellbutrin. We cannot overestimate how important this is.

Editor's Note: Wellbutrin (chemical name: bupropion) is known to reduce the effectiveness of tamoxifen. If you are taking tamoxifen, talk to your doctor about alternatives to Wellbutrin. For more information, please visit the Breastcancer.org Tamoxifen page.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Keeping Your Bones Strong featured Charles L. Shapiro, M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about how to measure the strength of your bones, how to find out your risk for osteoporosis, and what you can do to lower that risk.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in August 2002.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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