Alcohol Consumption Tied to Less Disease Activity With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Higher disease activity reported by nondrinkers at baseline and at 1 year by those who stopped drinking postbaseline.

HealthDay News There is an inverse relationship between alcohol consumption and disease activity in people with rheumatoid arthritis, according to a study published online Jan. 11 in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

Lars Alfredsson, Ph.D., from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues examined the relationship between alcohol consumption and disease activity, disease progression, and health-related quality of life in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The analysis included 1,228 patients with newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis from the population-based case-control study Epidemiological Investigation of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Information regarding lifestyle factors and different exposures was collected using a standardized questionnaire, and all participants were asked to provide blood samples for genetic and serologic analyses.

The researchers found that nondrinkers at baseline had higher disease activity and estimated their pain as more severe versus drinkers. Similarly, nondrinkers reported higher swollen and tender joint counts, more pain and fatigue, lower global health, and lower health-related quality of life at one-year follow-up. At one-year follow-up, those who stopped drinking postbaseline reported higher disease activity, more pain, and lower health-related quality of life versus drinkers. There was no difference observed in disease activity at baseline between drinkers who continued versus discontinued drinking.

Alcohol consumption was dose-dependently associated with lower disease activity and higher health-related quality of life in rheumatoid arthritis patients,” the authors write.

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