ARTHRITIS & ALCOHOL
Ladies raise a glass for this news! A new study has found that women who consume moderate amounts of alcohol may reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. The study of 34,141 Swedish women by the Stockholm-based Karolinska Institute found that women who regularly consume more than three alcoholic drinks a week for at least 1O years have about half the risk of developing arthritis compared with non-drinkers. The reduced risk was consistent whether the participants drank beer, wine or liquor. The results, published recently in the British Medical Journal, add to other studies that have observed positive effects of moderate drinking. “These results are in accordance with the inverse association between moderate alcohol consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease and add to the evidence that moderate alcohol consumption is not harmful,” the Swedish study authors wrote in their report.
The researchers collected information about the study participants’ drinking, diet, smoking history, physical activity and education level in 1987 and again in 2OO7. The subjects, born between 1914 and 1948, were tracked for seven years from 2OO3 through 2OO9. The effect on risk of arthritis may be explained by alcohol’s ability to lower the body’s immune response, as rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the cells that line the joints, the authors said. The researchers said they weren’t able to evaluate the effect of high doses of alcohol on risk of arthritis because of the lack of heavy drinking participants.