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How Does Alcohol Affect Arthritis

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Even low to moderate amounts of alcohol may cause problems for a person with joint pain. People who use alcohol, especially chronic, heavy drinkers, may experience their symptoms more heavily.

For a person with an existing alcohol use disorder, such as someone who struggles with alcoholism, alcohol addiction treatment can give them an excellent chance to overcome harmful patterns of drinking that are damaging their health. These positive steps may help a person gain sobriety and reduce alcohol-related joint pain.

Strengths Of The Study

To our knowledge, this meta-analysis is the first to provide a pooled estimate of the association between alcohol consumption and risk of OA. Other meta-analyses have employed similar methodology to assess the association between alcohol consumption and rheumatoid arthritis , and between smoking and OA , but not between alcohol consumption and OA. No eligible RCTs were identified, and analyses of published observational studies included both cross-sectional and prospective studies. This allowed bias relating to study design to be determined . We further conducted meta-regression analyses for several study characteristics. Inclusion of referent groups from multiple study designs and geography may allow for the effects of inter-study uncontrolled confounding factors such as population health profiles that vary according to geography, to be mitigated. Indeed, alcohol consumption varies significantly between countries , but may also vary within a population . We also included studies that provided both adjusted and unadjusted data, and so allowed for the influence of adjustment to be observed in the subgroup analyses. For grouped analyses, a threshold of I2=25% or lower was adopted for the application of a fixed-effects model in meta-analyses. Use of higher thresholds may erroneously report statistically significant associations . To confirm results of the I2 test, a Q-statistic was calculated for our primary analysis.

Can Alcohol Make Your Arthritis Worse

The answer may largely depend on what medications you take to treat your arthritis as well as how as how much/often you drink, and what your other personal risk factors are.

Theres no direct evidence that alcohol has either a positive or negative impact on the condition of arthritic joints, says Rebecca L. Manno, MD, MHS, assistant professor of medicine in the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center in Baltimore.

That said, individuals differ in how alcohol influences how their joints feel. If you notice that every time you drink beer your joints are more achy and sore, its not in your head. It probably means that beer is pro-inflammatory for you. For someone else it might have the opposite effect, easing inflammation. If alcohol makes you feel lousy, its not helping you or your arthritis, says Dr. Manno.

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Primary Analyses Of Alcohol Consumption And Osteoarthritis

The meta-analysis of all 29 included studies reported an overall reduced odds of OA in people who consumed alcohol, compared to those who did not , suggesting that alcohol has a protective effect . Out of 29 studies, only 2 studies reported a statistically significant positive point estimate between alcohol use and OA, one study categorised alcohol use as> 1 g weekly , and the other employed the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test -C score . Conversely, ten studies found a statistically significant negative association.

When grouped by study design, the casecontrol studies reported a non-significant point estimate between alcohol use and OA. Within this group, only one study in which hand and foot OA were diagnosed through the ACR criteria, and alcohol use was categorised as> 1 glass weekly , found a significant and large protective effect associated with alcohol use.

Sixteen cross-sectional designs were included in our meta-analysis. Within this subgroup, seven studies showed a statistically significant negative association between alcohol use and OA and one study showed a significant positive association. It is, therefore, not unexpected that a significant degree of heterogeneity was present . An overall odds ratio of 0.75 was shown, suggesting that the negative association seen in the primary analysis of all 29 studies is likely attributed to data from cross-sectional studies.

Can Alcohol Make Arthritis Worse


There are contrasting views about whether or not someone with arthritis should consume alcohol and to what degree. Some research suggests that the occasional glass of wine or pint of beer can actually help prevent the development of arthritis with their anti-inflammatory effects. However, once you already have arthritis, drinking alcohol has more downsides than benefits. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause serious problems. If you have concerns, speak to your doctor to discern whether or not its safe for you to consume alcohol.

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Tips For Reducing Alcohol

Alcohol-induced inflammation can cause health complications. These may range from mild to severe depending on how much alcohol you consume and for how long. Other health conditions will also influence the way alcohol affects you.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce alcohol-induced inflammation. The best way is to cut back on alcohol consumption and only drink in moderation .

If you have trouble cutting back on drinking or quitting altogether, seek professional help. You may be dealing with alcohol use disorder, and giving up alcohol alone can be both challenging and dangerous.

Another way to fight alcohol-induced inflammation is by staying hydrated. Because alcohol dehydrates you, and dehydration can exacerbate inflammation, drink water while and after you drink alcohol. Staying hydrated can also help to prevent a hangover the next day.

If you are suffering from health complications as a result of alcohol-induced inflammation, consult your healthcare provider. Your doctor can prescribe you a treatment plan or medications for conditions like fatty liver disease, arthritis, and IBD.


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Other Types Of Arthritis

Psoriasis is an inflammatory immune-mediated disease. Individuals who have psoriasis can develop psoriatic arthritis . This is an inflammatory arthritis that is associated with psoriasis.

Research shows that high levels of alcohol intake may contribute to systemic inflammation and could trigger a psoriatic eruption. This is due to the fact that alcohol is known to influence the immune system. Because the immune system is triggered in different ways, consistent alcohol can lead to increased inflammatory cell responses. Although high levels of alcohol can contribute to the inflammation and psoriasis eruption, more research needs to be conducted to confirm the proper recommendations of alcoholic intake amount for individuals who have psoriasis and PsA.

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How Much Alcohol Should I Drink

If you havent been instructed to abstain completely from alcohol, it is safe to assume that drinking a minimal amount of alcohol is ideal in maintaining good health. Overconsumption of alcohol can cause many issues in ones health and is discouraged for those with or without arthritis. Alongside minimising alcohol consumption, one should eat a healthy, balanced diet, exercise regularly and avoid smoking. These are all helpful factors in maintaining good health and positive health outcomes.

How Will Alcohol Mix With Your Medications

Gout, Pathophysiology, Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatments, Animation.

Before you make having a drink part of your daily routine, think about the medications you take. Alcohol doesnât mix well with many drugs.

If you regularly take pain relievers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen, drinking alcohol while those medicines are in your system is not a good idea. If you take methotrexate for your RA, make sure to ask your doctor if itâs OK for you to drink. You should talk to your doctor about the risks of mixing alcohol with any drugs you take.

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Interpretation Of Findings And Implications For Policy

In our meta-analysis, we show that the reported negative associations between alcohol use and OA are likely untrue. In support of this, analysis of studies adjusted for confounders eradicated any significant associations and suggested that alcohol had no significant association with OA. We further attempted to reduce heterogeneity by assessing adjustment by different covariates but were not successful. Most of the heterogeneity seem to arise from the OA joint of interest, as hand OA and hip OA groups both demonstrated low heterogeneity alone and did not show a significant association.

Alcoholic Hepatitis And Cirrhosis

Alcoholic hepatitis is an inflammatory condition caused by unhealthy alcohol use. When the liver breaks down alcohol it produces toxins. When the liver is healthy, these toxins can be cleared from the body. With extended use, the liver becomes less successful at getting rid of these toxins, and liver damage occurs. Alcoholic hepatitis occurs when the liver becomes more inflamed and swollen, and liver cells are destroyed. If a person then continues to consume alcohol, they may develop cirrhosis. This is a serious and irreversible condition where scar tissue builds up inside the liver and replaces the normal cells of the liver.

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Drinking Is A Pain: Link Between Alcohol And Arthritis

If you suffer from arthritis, then it helps to understand how daily habits and behaviors can affect your condition. A common habit that people overlook is drinking. Alcohol is known to affect many conditions, contribute to many conditions, and interfere with medications that are designed to alleviate certain conditions. So, its no surprise that theres a link between alcohol and arthritis, as well. If you suffer from joint pain, keep reading to learn how alcohol can affect you.

Q How Much Glucosamine Do I Need

Methotrexate and Rheumatoid Arthritis: Is Alcohol Consumption Safe ...

A. Arthritis is a very common problem among the Americans. According to the statistics, around 22.7% of the American adults are diagnosed with some forms of arthritis, such as gout, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and others..

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The Danger Of Combining Prescription Medications With Alcohol

Various prescription medications used to treat joint pain or other symptoms of diseases that cause joint pain may interact with alcohol, including opioid painkillers:

Non-Opioid Prescription Medications That May Be Harmful When Used With Alcohol

Used with alcohol, certain prescription medications can increase the risk of GI bleeding, such as:

When taken with alcohol, the following prescription medications could cause liver damage or raise the risk of irreversible cirrhosis :

Opioid Medications That Are Dangerous When Used With Alcohol

Mixing opioid painkillers and alcohol can cause central nervous system depression. More specifically it can cause respiratory depression, a potentially fatal condition that causes difficult and slowed breathing.

The following opioids may be prescribed to manage pain caused by osteoarthritis:

Opioids can cause dependence if misused or used for long periods of time. Because of this, many doctors may prefer to try different alternatives for pain management.

How Much Alcohol Consumption Is Safe For People With Joint Pain

Theres no definite amount of recommended alcohol consumption if you suffer from joint pain. There are various elements to take into consideration, including the cause of your joint pain and how your body responds when you do have a drink. Inform your doctor of any reactions or notable symptoms so that they can determine the best course of action for you.

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Is One Drink Worth Risking A Psa Flare

Its so aggravating to know that psoriatic arthritis prevents me from enjoying yet another thing! There are so many things that set me apart from other kids my age, but why this? Of course, you dont have to drink to have a good time, but thats not the point. The point is that occasionally I would like to enjoy a sweet treat without paying for it later. While other kids my age worry about a bad hangover in the morning after a party, I get to decide whether a small glass of wine is worth a flare.

Can Alcohol Reduce Inflammation And Pain

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No amount of alcohol is considered truly safe to treat pain. Even moderate amounts of drinking still carry risks. However, some research does point to certain health benefits of drinking. This includes alcohols potential as an anti-inflammatory agent, within specific circumstances. Studies even suggest that alcohol could reduce your risk of developing fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis , two chronic and potentially debilitating diseases which cause intense joint pain.

This doesnt mean that you should start drinking or drink for the purpose of preventing a symptom or disease. First, this benefit was linked to moderate drinking and amounts which were less than one drink per day for women. Secondly, alcohol is a drug and toxin, and while small amounts of alcohol may offer some benefits, there are still many other dangers associated with it. These could significantly outweigh any perceived benefits.

Lastly, as weve noted, if you already have a condition which causes joint pain, alcohol may only serve to make it worse. Though alcohol might seem to numb or reduce pain in the short term, this is just a temporary fix. This self-medication only serves to mask the symptoms while the alcohol could be causing deeper, long-term damage.

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Joint And Muscle Conditions

Joints and muscles are affected by inflammation. Firstly, alcohols dehydrating effect can create less lubrication between the joints which can lead to persisting joint inflammation and pain. Alcohol is also high in purines, a substance that gets broken down into uric acid. Excessive uric acid creates sharp crystals in the joints, causing painful inflammation and conditions like osteoarthritis and gout. Lastly, alcohol-induced inflammation is known to worsen symptoms of fibromyalgia, a condition that causes widespread muscular pain throughout the body.

Misconceptions About Alcohol & Pain Relief

Before answering the question on can alcohol cause joint pain, it is important to note that people have used alcohol as a form of pain relief for thousands of years, and it has proven to be effective in reducing pain in both humans and animals by depressing the central nervous system. But despite this, experts do not recommend the practice as it can increase the risk for various other health issues. People with chronic pain should be particularly wary of using alcohol as a form of pain relief because excessive intake can lead to addiction.

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Take Regular Liver Function Tests

Its recommended that you undergo regular liver enzyme checks if you take a medication metabolized by the liver, such as methotrexate especially if you drink alcohol. Being mindful of your blood work can help your doctor spot potential liver issues early on. If your doctor notices any changes, theyll likely ask about your alcohol consumption and may advise that you cut back or stop drinking.

As one myRAteam member advised, Apparently, alcohol use is a big problem that is getting worse. Be careful with all of our meds, I dont think it is wise to add alcohol to the mix.

Alcohol And Ra Medications

How that drink effects your body and mind

When a person drinks alcohol, their liver processes and breaks down the ethanol. Overloading the liver with excessive alcohol consumption can damage the liver.

The liver also filters many medications that people use to treat RA. Taking alcohol with these drugs can increase a persons risk of liver damage.

Taking NSAIDs increases the risk of stomach bleeding and ulcers, and excessive alcohol use may intensify these effects.

In addition, are a newer class of oral medications that a doctor can prescribe to treat RA. An example of a JAK inhibitor is tofacitinib .

Although these medications post a lesser risk in terms of liver toxicity than methotrexate, a person may still want to do some blood tests to check their liver function about 48 weeks after starting the medication and then every 3 months.

A person should also avoid consuming high amounts of alcohol to avoid increasing the risk of liver problems.

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Smoking And Alcohol Exposure

Information on smoking and alcohol exposure was obtained via an extensive self-completed questionnaire, given to patients at study entry. Participants were asked to record the number of days on which they had at least one alcoholic drink over the previous month to one of the four categories , and were also asked to define their previous drinking behaviour between never- and ever-regular drinker. Smoking status was recorded as current smoker, previous smoker and never smoker.

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Alcohol Traditional Ra Medications And Your Liver

The main concern about alcohol and RA is damage to the liver. Both methotrexate a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug commonly prescribed to manage RA symptoms and alcohol can be taxing to this vital organ, and combining the two may compound the problem. But a study published in March 2017 in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases suggests this issue may not be as problematic as some experts previously thought. Over the course of three decades, researchers studied nearly 12,000 RA patients who take methotrexate and found that those who consumed fewer than 14 drinks a week while taking the DMARD had no increased risk of liver damage when compared with the teetotalers. But those who consumed more than that were at higher risk of developing serious liver problems.

Other pain relievers, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen and naproxen , also dont mix well with alcohol. Theyre more likely to cause stomach bleeding and ulcers when alcohol is consumed. Drinking while taking acetaminophen leaves you more vulnerable to liver trouble, too.

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Other Ways Alcohol Can Affect Arthritis Management

Without doing further damage to your joints or promoting medication side effects, alcohol may interfere with other ways of lessening arthritis pain. For example, your doctor will want you to get the best nights sleep possible, since most people with rheumatoid arthritis experience problems with sleep. University of Pennsylvania researchers found that RA patients with low-quality sleep are in more pain, more depressed, and function less well than those who sleep better. Alcohol may make you drowsy, but it messes with sleep quality, says Dr. Manno.

In addition, because alcohol has lots of calories, and many cocktails are loaded with added sugar, drinking can make it more difficult to achieve other goals that ease pain and improve function: building muscle mass, reducing body fat, and losing weight.

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