Excessive car emissions may increase risks of osteoporosis
Car emissions are undoubtedly harmful. Ever since the Volkswagen emissions scandal broke out, more people are paying attention to just how much exhaust emissions are being churned into the air we breathe.
Multiple studies have found that increasing car emissions is contributing to air pollution, and consequently can harm us. Now, another study has found that emissions may also be attacking our bones by affecting bone density and increasing the risks of osteoporosis; otherwise known as brittle bones.
About the risks
Car exhausts contain tiny particulates that we breathe in. The Volkswagen emissions scandal revealed some levels of NOx being polluted were 40 times higher than first expected. The increased concentration of these particulates can affect the health of our major organs, and now it may also be the case that it’s making our bones weaker too. These heightened risks can ultimately increase the possibility of early deaths.
Around 11 million Volkswagen vehicles around the world were carrying the so-called “defeat devices” that allowed vehicles to emit excessive levels of car emissions. Volkswagen hid these devices in their cars and subsequently profited from millions of people buying their cars who may have thought they were investing in more “eco-friendly” technology. Instead, customers have been unwittingly contributing to the increased air pollution that could even reduce their own life spans…
One study found that in places where there are higher concentrations of cars or traffic pollution – and therefore exhaust emissions – there was a noticeable correlation with bone fractures being reported in hospitals. Hospital admission rates were particularly higher for people with lower incomes.
Car emissions can reportedly adversely affect the hormones in your body that help us to produce calcium for strong and healthy bones, and it’s this issue that may be related to the bone-mass problems that could be related to excessive vehicle emissions.
The U.K. impact
In the U.K. alone there are around three-million people already suffer from osteoporosis, but with the growing amount of air pollution we’re living with, this number may increase significantly. People living with osteoporosis usually have weaker and more brittle bones than usual, with (statistically) around 10% of them breaking a bone in any given year. Breaking a bone is incredibly painful and expensive, and the medical costs for the healthcare systems can run in to the millions every year.
One of the researchers for the study, Andrea Baccarelli, noted:
“Osteoporosis represents one of the most important public health problems worldwide because fracture is associated with increased mortality.”
For someone elderly who has osteoporosis, a bone fracture can happen so easily. This terrifying disease can leave the sufferer in agony; always worried about the next break. According to experts, as their activity levels decrease and their muscles are weakened from lack of use, in just one year after a bone fracture, risk of death increases by 20%.
Baccarelli noted that taking Vitamin B can help tackle some of the effects of cardiovascular disease induced by air pollution, but there is no clear evidence if it will help with osteoporosis. However, he did confirm that increasing air quality will definitely help.
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