Watch Our Video About What Osteoarthritis Is
Osteoarthritis is a very common condition which can affect any joint in the body. Its most likely to affect the joints that bear most of our weight, such as the knees and feet. Joints that we use a lot in everyday life, such as the joints of the hand, are also commonly affected.
In a healthy joint, a coating of tough but smooth and slippery tissue, called cartilage, covers the surface of the bones and helps the bones to move freely against each other. When a joint develops osteoarthritis, part of the cartilage thins and the surface becomes rougher. This means the joint doesnt move as smoothly as it should.
When cartilage becomes worn or damaged, all the tissues within the joint become more active than normal as the body tries to repair the damage. The repair processes may change the structure of the joint, but will often allow the joint to work normally and without any pain and stiffness. Almost all of us will develop osteoarthritis in some of our joints as we get older, though we may not even be aware of it.
However, the repair processes dont always work so well and changes to the joint structure can sometimes cause or contribute to symptoms such as pain, swelling or difficulty in moving the joint normally.
For most joints, osteoarthritis is more common and more severe in women.
When To See A Doctor For Joint Pain
For many, joint pain is simply a part of life. Anyone from healthy, active children and adults to the elderly can experience this type of discomfort. But that doesnt mean you should ignore joint inflammation symptoms when they present themselves. If you are newly experiencing joint pain, or if your pain has begun to get worse, you should see a doctor to help get to the bottom of the issue.
You Shouldnt Drink At All With Certain Medications
Experts do know for sure that alcohol can lead to serious issues when youre taking specific medications. Avoid alcohol altogether if youre on one of the most common types of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs like Otrexup or Trexall , Azulfidine or Arava , advises Dr. Smith. Why? The explanation is coming up next.
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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.
Is There Any Links Between Osteoarthritis And Diet
Q) I would like to know whether any research findings suggest links between osteoarthritis and diet. I am a 66-year-old active retired teacher. I had a total hip replacement in August 2011 and have recovered well. My surgeon has told me that it is likely I will require another hip replacement on the other hip in about five years although at present I am not experiencing any hip pain. I hope that exercise, weight control and sensible eating plus supplements such as glucosamine and fish oil will help to slow the progression of the disease. What does the latest medical research say about nutritional therapy which claims that avoidance of specific foods that cause food sensitivities can relieve the pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis? To put it simply, can food heal me?
This answer was provided by Dr Philip Helliwell in 2013, and was correct at the time of publication.
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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.
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Other Aspects To Consider
Not only are medications reactors to alcohol for those with rheumatoid arthritis, but other effects must also be considered.
Those with RA are already exposed to higher chances of experiencing heart attacks or strokes, and excessive alcohol use is linked to heart disease. Again, use in moderation is crucial if one is going to drink.
You may already be suffering from disturbances in your sleep if you have RA, and alcohol may intensify these problems – even when consumed in moderation. Alcohol can often result in fragmented sleep, leading to issues with fatigue.
Osteoporosis is also common among those with RA, as the risk is significantly heightened. Alcohol also raises the risk. The condition leads to weak bones that are very brittle, so if you don’t have osteoporosis already, you might want to stay away from the alcohol to keep your risk at bay.
Depression is common to experience for those who have rheumatoid arthritis, and drinking alcohol is known to intensify symptoms of depression. While many use alcohol and other substances as a coping mechanism for their preexisting depression, it only makes the condition worse in the long-run and should generally be avoided if you are experiencing these struggles.
Regardless of your medications or susceptibilities to other side effects, ensure that you are speaking openly with your doctor about your drinking to ensure that it is entirely safe.
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Arthritis: How Osteoarthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect Joints
Arthritis joint inflammation is very common, and typically causes pain and stiffness in the affected joints.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are 2 of the most common types of arthritis and they affect the joints differently. View the 3 diagrams of joints below to see the differences between:
- a normal, healthy joint
- a joint affected by osteoarthritis and
- a joint with rheumatoid arthritis.
How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosed
Diagnosing RA may be difficult in the early stages. This is because symptoms may be very mild, and signs of the disease may not be seen on X-rays or in blood tests. Your healthcare provider will take your medical history and give you a physical exam. Tests may also be done, such as:
- X-ray. This test uses a small amount of radiation to create images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
- Joint aspiration. For this test, a small fluid sample is taken from a swollen joint. It is done to look for signs of infection or gout.
- Nodule biopsy. Tiny tissue samples are taken to look at under a microscope. This helps to check for cancer or other abnormal cells.
- Blood tests. These tests are done to find certain antibodies, called rheumatoid factor, cyclic citrullinated antibody, and other signs of RA.
- Ultrasound or MRI. These imaging tests can look for bone damage and inflammation.
But Can Alcohol *help* People With Arthritis
Alcohol has some heart-healthy benefits, such as providing a modest increase in good HDL cholesterol. And the American Heart Association notes that studies have found that drinking alcohol may be associated with reduced mortality due to heart disease in some populations.
When that recent methotrexate study showed that it is possibly safe for people on methotrexate to consume small amounts of alcohol, that opened the door for us to ask whether patients with rheumatoid arthritis, who are at higher risk of heart disease, could safely consume some alcohol and reap the associated cardioprotective effects, says Dr. Bolster.
In a large primary care database from the United Kingdom, Dr. Bolster and her colleagues evaluated an eight-year period of time and found that patients on methotrexate and other disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs were more likely to survive and less likely to have a heart attack or stroke if they consumed mild to moderate amounts of alcohol. The researchers presented their early findings at the 2018 annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology.
Im not sure this changes what I can tell patients now, but its certainly intriguing and calls for further exploration. We look forward to learning more so we can guide our patients better in the future, says Dr. Bolster.
What Happened When I Started Saying No To Alcohol
About a year into my diagnosis, realizing all the cons that accompany drinking with rheumatoid arthritis, I said goodbye to alcohol. I soon learned this would also mean saying goodbye to many of my friends. Or, rather, they said goodbye to me. I was no longer the fun party girl in some of my friends eyes, so the invites to clubs and bars stopped coming.
This was hard for a number of reasons. It made me grieve for my pre-chronic illness lifestyle. It made me feel lonely. It made me resent and regret that those so-called friends and I couldnt find ways to maintain our relationships beyond partying and drinking.
My no-booze lifestyle even made dating more difficult. Guys would ask me to go for a drink, but Id turn down their invite, leading them to ask why. When they learned it was because I live with a chronic illness, they would move on to another option. Most guys werent open to dating a girl who had a chronic illness and didnt drink I guess it wasnt the idea of fun they wanted.
At first I struggled with the loneliness. But eventually I found new ways to occupy my time that didnt leave me feeling sick. I renewed my love of hiking and found peace in gardening. I focused on my health by researching anti-inflammatory recipes and building up my strength at the gym, a decision that helped me feel more confident in myself. I started learning more about my condition, and eventually became a patient advocate. Over time, I became happy with my new, healthier life.
Alcohol Inflammation And Your Ra
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the bodys immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, causing inflammation. Immune cells called cytokines are involved in the inflammatory process, and excess alcohol consumption may promote higher levels.
The current research on alcohol consumption in people with RA does suggest that alcohol may not be as harmful as researchers used to think. Still, many of these studies conflict with one another and raise concern over related inflammation.
For example, a 2018 study in the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology looked at alcohol’s effect on joint erosion or joint space narrowing in the hands, wrists, and feet of people with RA. Researchers used periodic X-rays to track radiological progression over time.
They found that even moderate alcohol consumption could lead to an increase in radiological progression in women with RA. Interestingly, the opposite was true for men with RA.
How Does Alcohol Consumption Affect Rheumatoid Arthritis
Researchers suggest people with less severe symptoms drink more because theyre healthier and feel good, and those who are dealing with more active disease progression stop drinking or dont start. In other words, when people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis dont feel well, they dont drink nearly as much.
These drinking trends as they relate to disease severity can make it appear that moderate alcohol consumption has positive effects on the disease. But in reality, the amount of alcohol a person consumes may not be responsible for the severity of a persons symptoms.
Alcohol may not have a considerable effect on rheumatoid arthritis at all, experts say. If it does, the effects may vary from person to person. Thus, its important to note how you feel after you drink. If your joints feel more swollen and sore than usual, you may want to avoid alcohol in the future.
As one myRAteam member wrote, I would say alcohol affects my joints. Another agreed: I woke up this morning, and my hands were so swollen and painful. I think its because I had alcohol last night. However, other members find that alcohol seems to help them. As one member explained, Ive been so sore: hands, wrists, knees. Alcohol helps.
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Can Alcohol Reduce The Risk Of Ra
Another strand of evidence suggests that drinking a moderate amount of alcohol could actually reduce the risk of developing RA in people who do not have the condition.
In a 2020 study, researchers found a significant association between alcohol consumption and RA risk in women but not men. Among women, every 10 grams increase in alcohol consumption significantly increased the risk of developing the condition.
Researchers need to conduct further studies to explain, understand, and confirm the link between drinking alcohol and the risks of developing RA and why this may impact females more than males.
Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitors
Tumor necrosis factor alpha is a pro-inflammatory cytokine produced by macrophages and lymphocytes. It is found in large quantities in the rheumatoid joint and is produced locally in the joint by synovial macrophages and lymphocytes infiltrating the joint synovium. TNF is one of the critical cytokines that mediate joint damage and destruction due to its activities on many cells in the joint as well as effects on other organs and body systems. TNF antagonists were the first of the biological DMARDS to be approved for the treatment of RA. These drugs began to enter the market for rheumatoid arthritis in 1999 and are now considered a part the ACR recommendations for treatment of RA. There are currently five TNF inhibitors FDA approved for the treatment of RA etanercept , infliximab , adalimumab , certolizumab pegol , and golimumab . Etanercept is a soluble TNF receptor-Fc immunoglobulin fusion construct infliximab, adalimumab, and golimumab are monoclonal antibodies and certolizumab pegol is an anti-TNF antigen binding domain-polyethylene glycol construct. While differing in structure, the efficacy and safety of the drugs is similar across the class in reducing the signs and symptoms of RA, as well as in slowing or halting radiographic damage, when used either as monotherapy or in combination with methotrexate.
How Does Alcohol Affect Rheumatoid Arthritis
Drinking alcohol in moderation is typically safe for people with rheumatoid arthritis .
According to the Arthritis Foundation, drinking alcohol in moderation is usually safe and may even reduce certain types of inflammation. Some research says that small amounts of alcohol could reduce the risk of developing RA in the first place.
However, heavier alcohol use can cause problems. Alcohol can also interfere with some RA medications, with serious health implications. Before drinking alcohol, people can speak with a doctor about the risks and benefits.
This article examines the research behind how drinking alcohol can affect RA and the interactions between RA drugs and alcohol, and other safety considerations.
Can Alcohol Use Cause Joint Pain
The ways that alcohol use can cause joint pain can be complex and be dependent on a variety of factors, such a persons health and the presence of any medical conditions. In many cases, a component or chemical in the alcohol can trigger a reaction in a person that causes pain. It can also weaken a persons health and make it harder for them to take care of themselves or manage their medical condition.
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Foods High In Purines
For people who have gout, a doctor may advise a low purine diet combined with the medication.
Purines are substances in foods that the body converts to uric acid. Uric acid can build up in the bloodstream, causing a gout attack. According to the , the following foods are high in purines:
What a person eats can help:
Usually, inflammation protects the body from harm by helping defend against bacteria and aiding wound healing. However, when inflammation persists for an extended period, chronic symptoms can develop.
What a person eats has an impact on inflammation levels. Some foods are inflammatory, and others are anti-inflammatory.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, numerous studies show that anti-inflammatory foods can reduce arthritis pain and progression.
A persons body weight also influences inflammation levels. Fat cells produce cytokines, which are immune cells that increase inflammation.A person can use diet to maintain a moderate weight, which may help with inflammation and also reduce pressure on the joints.
Finally, some types of arthritis have specific trigger foods. For example, foods that are high in purines
Consuming the following foods may benefit people with arthritis.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is considered a crippling autoimmune disorder.
This is a type of arthritis which develops due to abnormal functioning of the immune system.
Because of this, the cells of the immune system start to kill the bodys own tissues.
In this case, they lead to the degeneration of the tissues present between the joints such as cartilage, tendons, ligaments and the synovial lining.
Although the reason as to why this happens has not been understood yet, rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease and does not have a permanent cure.
However, the symptoms of the disorder can be prevented or treated to an extent to provide relief to the patient.
Women are at a higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis than men.
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