A medical research study involving 873 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 1,004 healthy controls found that alcohol consumption has an inverse association with both risk and severity of rheumatoid arthritis. Risks were calculated according to alcohol consumption, adjusted for age, gender and smoking status.
After adjustment for potential confounding factors in a multivariate regression model, frequency of alcohol consumption remained significantly and inversely associated with both objective (X-ray damage) and subjective (standardized self-report) measures of rheumatoid arthritis.
"We found that patients who had drunk alcohol most frequently had symptoms that were less severe than those who had never drunk alcohol or only drunk it infrequently," said lead author Dr. James Maxwell. He added that "X-rays showed there was less damage to joints, blood tests showed lower levels of inflammation, and there was less joint pain, swelling and disability."
Non-drinkers were four times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA) than people who drank alcohol on more than ten days a month. The risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis decreased according to the frequency of alcohol consumption.
"This finding agrees with the results from previous studies that have shown a decreased susceptibility to developing RA among alcohol drinkers," Dr. Maxwell said. It is also consistent with much research on animals.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious disease and one in five people in the United States has been diagnosed with the often debilitating condition.
Note: This website provides no recommendations for drinking alcohol and rheumatoid arthritis or for any other health or medical matter and none should be inferred.
Filed Under: Alcohol and Health