Effect of alcohol consumption on rheumatoid arthritis is not what we previously thought: findings from large new study

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alcohol arthritis, diet arthritis, food and drink arthritis, arthritis digestResearch has suggested that moderate alcohol consumption is linked with less severe disease and better quality of life in people with rheumatoid arthritis, but a large new study suggests that this might not be because drinking alcohol is beneficial.

Data from almost 17,000 people was assessed and the results published in Arthritis Care & Research.

Key findings

  • People with a higher severity of disease were more likely to stop (and less likely to start) drinking alcohol;
  • Those with greater disability and poor physical and mental quality of life were less likely to drink alcohol;
  • Alcohol use or recent changes in use were not associated with disease activity or death when considering the underlying factors influencing the behaviour.

“Our data shows that when people aren’t feeling well, they tend not to drink alcohol,” says lead author Dr Joshua Baker. “While this makes it appear that people who drink are better off, it’s probably not because the alcohol itself is helping.”

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