We all know that smoking has always caused many diseases, but the link between smoking and severe arthritis is rarely discussed.
Smoking restricts blood flow, which increases the risk of strokes and coronary heart diseases. The narrowed arteries also accelerate the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. So, if you’re feeling a little stiff and hurting in the joints, stopping smoking will probably reduce the pain.
Today’s post will look closer at the connection between smoking and how it accelerates severe arthritis and exacerbates its effects.
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How Does Smoking Cause Severe Arthritis?
Before jumping in, let’s establish some facts about blood flow, muscles, and bones. A healthy blood flow brings nutrients to the musculoskeletal system (our muscles and bones). Smoking reduces blood flow to the system, starving the musculoskeletal system of the nutrients it needs to recover and maintain itself and accelerating the onset of arthritis.
Reduces Blood Supply to Bones
Smokers have brittle bones because they’re starved of nutrition. The decreased blood flow to the bones due to smoking hinders their ability to repair and maintain their structure, making them more susceptible to damage and degeneration. Our bones need nutrients to restore their integrity and improve their density, a process that smoking significantly hampers.
Lowers Calcium Absorption in Blood
Imagine drinking milk without absorbing any calcium – this is a reality for most smokers. The chemicals present in cigarette smoke disrupt the functions of calciotropic hormones, which are responsible for regulating calcium absorption levels during digestion, causing a huge drop in the body’s ability to absorb and use calcium effectively.
Since calcium is crucial for maintaining strong and healthy bones, poor absorption accelerates the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. Once you stop smoking, you’ll slow down arthritis and restore calcium absorption and bone growth.
Increased Risk of Bursitis and Tendonitis
A smoker’s body is at a higher risk of bursitis and tendonitis, two common conditions that cause inflammation and pain in the joints common in older adults, because they lack calcium.
Furthermore, the chemicals in cigarette smoke exacerbate the inflammation process, leading to greater discomfort and impaired joint function.
If your joints feel a little stiff right now and you’re not over 50, calcium malnutrition is already taking effect. By stopping, you will prolong your life, and, more importantly, you will also have better mobility beyond retirement.
Heightens Free Radicals in the Body
Cigarette smoke contains numerous harmful substances that increase the production of free radicals. These unstable molecules cause oxidative stress to various cells, tissues, and organs, permanently impairing them with the tar and smoke you inhale.
Moreover, free radicals will cause cartilage all over the body to break down faster, further restricting their growth. By stopping smoking, you’re significantly reducing the level of free radicals in the body, decelerating the onset of arthritis even if you’re past your prime.
Will Stopping Smoking Reduce the Risk of Arthritis?
You’ve finally decided to stop smoking – the knowledge of being able to move well and painlessly as you age has motivated you to start your journey. Once you successfully kick nicotine and tobacco out of your system, you’ll enjoy a better life within just 6 days along with the following benefits.
Improved Blood Flow
You’re going to get your blood flowing without all the cigarette smoke. By quitting smoking, you can significantly improve blood circulation throughout the body, including the bones and joints.
As your blood flows better and more efficiently, it delivers all vital nutrients and oxygen to your joints, cartilage, and bones, improving recovery and reducing the early onset of arthritis.
Enhanced Nutrient Absorption
When you stop smoking, your bones get the calcium they need to grow and maintain their integrity. Furthermore, you eliminate the free radicals causing the degeneration of cartilage in your joints and various parts of the body.
It goes without saying that stopping smoking and having a good diet will significantly reduce the onset of arthritis beyond retirement age.
Overall Health Improvements
After you’re done with ciggies, stopping smoking makes your bones and muscles feel stronger, and it will also improve other aspects of your health. For one, you also reduce your risk of lung, oral, and respiratory cancer.
You’ll also be able to run faster and for longer (if you exercise) and keep your mood in a good way thanks to endorphins.
Stopping Smoking With the Right Path and Tools
Quitting smoking can be challenging, but with the help of a GP and smoking cessation tools, any smoker can get through and become successful with it. A GP can design a personalised smoking cessation programme for you and help you stop smoking with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and pharmacy-available nicotine vaping products (NVPs).
GPs will assess if NRT products work for you, and if they don’t, they may prescribe pharmacy-available NVPs as a second means to help you stop.
NVP products sold in pharmacies are made under stringent pharmaceutical standards on the manufacturing process and ingredients, are toxicologically assessed for inhalation, are locally insured, and are specifically designed to help you stop smoking..
Are NVPs effective quitting tools?. The latest Cochrane Review found high-certainty evidence that NVPs are more effective than NRT in helping people stop smoking.
Naturally, arthritis occurs when you’re already past your prime. But if you keep on smoking, you may have arthritis before your kids even step into college. Fortunately, quitting ensures your bones, muscles, and joints remain almost youthful, at least letting you move painlessly as you grow older.
We know you’re reading this to learn about the connection between smoking and severe arthritis. We also know you’re having some problems quitting. We can help.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to bulk-billing Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good, including using responsible vaping products where appropriate.
Click here to book your bulk-billed telehealth consultation with an Australian healthcare professional and quit smoking today.