Does Alcohol Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms?

July 12, 2012

A Swedish study has found that women who drink moderately (about 1 drink every other day) were less likely to be diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own joints and tissues. Stiff, swollen, sore, and tender joints are the the most common Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms. Because Rheumatoid Arthritis is basically severe inflammation, it can also affect the health of organs.

There’s a huge caveat, obviously, to the results of the study. Alcohol is thought to slow the development of Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms because it suppresses the immune system, If you already have a weakened immune system, consuming alcohol is not the way to fight off Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Second, if you already have Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms, the medications they give you are often hard on the liver—not something to add alcohol too. I you have risks for other diseases—breast cancer, addiction, or other types of liver disease—alcohol will likely do more harm than good. And if you are accustomed to smoking while drinking, you can make the inflammation worse.

If you have a family history of Rheumatoid Arthritis, you can take this study as a way to feel good about moderate drinking habits—but it’s not a reason to suddenly start. Plus, it’s just one study, so until they follow up on the actual cause and effect (and perhaps a more diverse sample that includes men), it’s not for certain.

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