Do you know alcohol is silently killing your bone tissues?
Posted on 17th February 2022
Frequent alcohol consumption is harmful to health, and it has an undesirable impact on every system of the human body. When the body contains more alcohol than the digestive system can digest, the excess alcohol builds up in the bloodstream, leading to changes in normal body functions and developing many chronic diseases. Excessive alcohol consumption is a considerable risk factor for developing osteonecrosis/avascular necrosis (AVN) of the hip joint.
First, you take a drink; then a drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.
- Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald.
Heavy alcohol intake over a long period leads to abnormal lipid metabolism, the leading risk factor of alcohol-induced avascular necrosis. Alcohol consumption can significantly increase serum triglyceride and cholesterol (lipid) levels and fat deposition into the bone marrow. It results in a lack of blood flow to bone cells, which leads to bone cell death/necrosis.1
According to Shang-WenTsai et al., a study carried out in Taiwan on 1153 patients who had undergone 1674 hip surgeries, to treat avascular necrosis, alcohol consumption was the most prevalent cause (45.2%) 2
Studies suggest that alcohol intake increases adipocyte (fat cell) multiplication, resulting in the spreading of fat cells. These changes increase the formation of intravascular fat that deposits within a blood vessel and causes a blockage of blood flow, thereby contributing to the development of osteonecrosis. This happens in the same manner as a heart attack - when the arteries in the heart get blocked due to cholesterol, which cuts off the blood supply to our heart muscle and results in a heart attack.
"As we know, the hip joint is a ball and socket joint. Too much alcohol can affect blood supply, and without blood, the bone tissues die. The patient can develop symptoms such as pain in front of the thigh, knee, lateral part of the hip or groin"3
-Dr. Deen Muhammad Ismail, head and director, institute of orthopedics and traumatology, Madras Medical College.
Matsuo et al. reported that individuals who consume 15-20 large pegs per week had a 10-fold increased risk of osteonecrosis compared with non-drinkers. Drinkers who consumed >20 large pegs/week of alcohol had an 18-fold increased risk of osteonecrosis compared with non-drinkers.4
Now it's clear, the more alcohol consumption, the more chances to develop osteonecrosis.
"Alcohol consumption is the largest cause of avascular necrosis( AVN) or damage to the femoral head( hip joint)"5
- Dr. Ameet Pispati, Consultant Orthopedic surgeon, Jaslok hospital, Mumbai.
As per a research article published in the journal of Clinical Epidemiology and Global Health, alcohol intake is the leading cause for the majority of the cases of osteonecrosis of the femoral head (ONFH). 6
Several treatment options are available for osteonecrosis, which only treat the symptoms, not the root cause. OSSGROW® cell therapy offers curative (as it addresses the root cause), less invasive, and permanent treatment for osteonecrosis. OSSGROW® cell therapy initiates new bone formation in the affected area. It helps to stop disease progression completely, and slowly, the joint regains its structure, strength, and function; hence your natural hip joint gets preserved.
Anybody becomes addicted to alcohol at any stage of their life; then, one can easily predict where his life will end. Hence getting your alcohol consumption under control, or stopping it completely, should be your priority. Many health-related benefits are immediately apparent from the moment you stop drinking alcohol. Your sleep will improve, your productivity will increase, your energy levels will rise, and overall better health will begin.
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- Shang-Wen Tsai et al. Etiologies and outcome of osteonecrosis of the femoral head: Etiology and outcome study in a Taiwan population, Journal of the Chinese Medical Association, Volume 79, Issue 1,2016. Pages 39-45,ISSN 1726-4901
- Matsuo K, Hirohata T, Sugioka Y, Ikeda M, Fukuda A. Influence of alcohol intake, smoking, and occupational status on idiopathic avascular necrosis of the femoral head. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1988 Sep;(234):115-23. PMID: 3409564.
- Tarun Goyal et al. Osteonecrosis of the femoral head in North Indian population: Risk factors and clinical-radiological correlation, Clinical Epidemiology and Global Health, Volume 7, Issue 3,2019, Pages 446-449, ISSN 2213-3984.