Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis Reduced by Drinking Alcohol

What’s the risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It has no cure. It’s a chronic disease that can cause permanent joint destruction and deformity.

About 1.5 million people in the US have the painful disease. Women have nearly three times the risk of RA as men. The disease usually begins in women between the ages of 30 and 60. In men it often begins later in life.

RA increases the risk of getting other serious medical problems. They include heart and artery diseases, lung diseases, osteoporosis (weakened bones), and carpel tunnel syndrome.


Factors that increase the risk of  rheumatoid arthritis include these.

    • Gender. Women are much more likely to develop the disease.
    • Age. RA usually develops between the ages of 40 and 60. But it can begin at any age.
    • Family History. Having RA in any blood relative increases the risk.

People can’t change their gender, age or family history. But they can modify their lifestyle. Low to moderate consumption of alcohol for at least 10 years has been found to be linked with a 17% reduction in the risk of RA.

Study: Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis

risk of rheumatoid arthritisA major research study examined eight prospective studies published over a 67 years. They had a total of 195,029 people. And there were 1,878 cases of RA.

The scientists found that light to moderate alcohol drinking reduces the risk of RA. This was true for both men and women.

Earlier research by others found that drinking alcohol reduces the severity of RA.



1. Maxwell, J., et al.  Alcohol consumption is inversely associated with risk and severity of RA. Rheum. (Oxford), 49(11), 2140-46.