A study assessed alcohol consumption and its association with disease activity and health related quality of life (HRQL) in Swedish rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.
Data was taken from 2,800 adult patients who were included in the BARFOT study of early RA in Sweden. In 2010 a self-completion postal questionnaire was sent to 2,102 patients still participating in the BARFOT study enquiring about disease severity, HRQL, and lifestyle factors. Alcohol consumption was assessed using the validated AUDIT-C questionnaire.
A total of 1,238 out of 1,460 patients answering the questionnaire had data on alcohol consumption: 11% were non-drinkers, 67% had a non-hazardous drinking, and 21% were classified as hazardous drinkers. Women who drank alcohol reported lower disease activity and better HRQL, but there was no association between alcohol consumption and disease activity in men. For current smokers, alcohol use was only associated with fewer patient-reported swollen joints. The outcome was not affected by beverage type.
The authors state that there was an association between alcohol consumption and both lower self-reported disease activity and higher HRQL in female, but not in male, RA patients.
Source: Alcohol consumption is associated with lower self-reported disease activity and better health-related quality of life in female rheumatoid arthritis patients in Sweden: data from BARFOT, a multicenter study on early RA. Bergman S; Symeonidou S; Andersson ML; Soderlin MK. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. Vol 14, Art No 218, 2013, 8pp.