Page last updated: Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Alcohol consumption and reduced risk of  rheumatoid arthritis

A team at Sheffield University in the UK, led by Dr James Maxwell  has found that regular alcohol consumption may reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis a painful and progressive disease of the joints which affects people of all ages.
The study found that participants who had drunk more than 10 days in the last month had less damage to their joints, less inflammation, less pain, swelling and disability than those who never drank alcohol.
Dr James Maxwell, a consultant rheumatologist at the Rotherham Foundation NHS Trust and Sheffield University, said: “There is some evidence to show that alcohol suppresses the activity of the immune system, and that this may influence the pathways by which RA develops.
“We do know that the changes in the immune system that lead to RA happen months and maybe even years before the arthritis actually develops.
“Once someone has developed RA, it’s possible that the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of alcohol may play a role in reducing the severity of symptoms.”
Source: Alcohol consumption is inversely associated with risk and severity of rheumatoid arthritis. James R. Maxwell, Isobel R. Gowers, David J. Moore and Anthony G. Wilson. Rheumatology Advance Access published online on July 28, 2010

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