Does Smoking Affect Osteoarthritis?

Otherwise known as the “wear and tear” arthritis, osteoarthritis(OA) is the most common form of arthritis affecting over 27 million Americans. It occurs when the cartilage (flexible, protective tissue on the ends of bones) wears down resulting in joint pain and stiffness. OA can occur in any joint, but is most common in weight-bearing joints, like knees and hips. It is a degenerative disease, which means it worsens over time. Many factors contribute to the development of osteoarthritis such as age, weight, and genetics. One surprising factor is perhaps the effect of smoking on joint pain.

While it’s no secret that smoking has many negative health benefits, you may be wondering how exactly it relates to joint pain. In a recent study performed by the Mayo Clinic, it was determined that men who smoke experience more severe pain and greater cartilage loss than men who do not smoke.

In a study published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, it was suggested that smoking changes the way the brain perceives pain. In addition, smoking can impact the circulatory system, preventing nutrient flow to the muscles and joints. Smoking also slows down our bodies’ usual healing methods, which can make it more difficult to recover from injuries.

Yet another reason to kick the habit; the link between smoking and OA.

If you are interested in finding new treatment options for conditions like osteoarthritis, local studies are enrolling now. Those that qualify have access to potential new treatments and are cared for by board-certified physicians. Qualified participants may also be compensated for time and travel expenses. Learn more about our currently enrolling research opportunities by clicking HERE.