Alcohol May Alleviate Arthritis

July 30/Nursing Times --  Drinking alcohol helps prevent rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and alleviates symptoms in those who have the condition, according to new research.

People who never drink are four times as likely to develop RA compared with those who drink alcohol on at least 10 days every month, scientists claim.

Research led by University of Sheffield staff tested around 800 people with rheumatoid arthritis against 1,000 people without it. It found that the progression of the condition is not as severe if alcohol is consumed.

Participants recorded how many days over the previous month they had at least one alcoholic drink. The categories given were: no alcohol, one to five days, six to 10 days and more than 10 days.

The scientists, helped by a qualified health worker, examined the joints of those with the condition and completed blood tests and X-rays on them to gauge the severity of each participant's symptoms.

James Maxwell, a consultant rheumatologist at Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, who was involved in the study, said, "We found that patients who had drunk alcohol most frequently had symptoms that were less severe than those who had never drunk alcohol or only drunk it infrequently. X-rays showed there was less damage to joints, blood tests showed lower levels of inflammation, and there was less joint pain, swelling and disability."

The findings of the study were published in the Rheumatology journal online.  

From the August 3, 2010, Prepared Foods' Daily News
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