Scientists Link Air Pollution with Increased Bone Loss

By: | March 2nd, 2023

Fractured bones (Image by Pixabay)

Osteoporosis is a progressive disease that makes bones fragile, increasing the risk of fractures.

Women are more at risk of developing osteoporosis than men because the hormonal changes at menopause directly affect bone density. One in two women older than 50 experience bone fractures due to osteoporosis.

Now, a new study has explored the connection between air pollution and faster bone loss through osteoporosis in postmenopausal women

The team of researchers led by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health analyzed data collected through the Women’s Health Initiative study of 1,61,808 postmenopausal women.

The researchers found that elevated levels of air pollution were linked with bone damage among postmenopausal women. These effects were most evident on the lumbar spine, with nitrous oxides as a main contributor to bone damage. Traffic is a major producer of nitrogen oxides.

Epigeneticist Andrea Baccarelli from Columbia University says, “Improvements in air pollution exposure, particularly nitrogen oxides, will reduce bone damage in postmenopausal women, prevent bone fractures, and reduce the health cost burden associated with osteoporosis among postmenopausal women. Further efforts should focus on detecting those at higher risk of air pollution-related bone damage,”

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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