Moderate Alcohol Consumption Cuts Down Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
According to a new study moderate consumption of alcohol reduces woman's risk of being a victim to rheumatoid arthritis. Consuming more than three alcoholic beverages a week for at least ten years does prove beneficial to women.
This new study definitely creates a predicament, because till date studies have projected how alcohol affects women health. But what the doctors emphasize in this study is to the word "moderation".
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that can cause chronic inflammation of the joints and other areas of the body. It attacks people of all age group.
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A study was conducted investigating alcohol consumption and its effect on rheumatoid arthritis in more than 34,000 Swedish women between ages 54 and 89. This survey was conducted in 1987 and 1997, to check on the consumption of alcohol. The researchers kept a close check on the women, hunting Swedish national registries for those who were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis between 2003 and 2009.
After adjusting for factors such as age, smoking and dietary habits, the researchers noticed that the women who consumed moderate alcohol, drinking nearly 17 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine and 1.7 ounces of liquor three times or more each week had a 52 percent decreased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis compared with those who never drank at all.
One more aspect that caught the attention of the researchers is that the women with excessive drinking habit were more likely to smoke. This is one of the risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis. But they found that moderate drinking reduced the risk for current smokers to 33 percent and for non-smokers moderate drinking reduced RA risk by 62 percent.
Daniela Di Giuseppe, the study's lead author and a doctoral student at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm said, "Our results suggest that moderate consumption of alcohol, approximately half a glass of alcohol per day, may reduce the risk of developing RA especially when women don't smoke."
Although the study found an association between alcohol and rheumatoid arthritis risk, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship. The researchers speculate that it may turn down the body's immune system and decrease the production of proteins involved in the inflammatory process. Inflammation is a hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis.
Dr. David Pisetsky, chief of rheumatology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C, said, "Smoking and alcohol consumption often go hand-in-hand. Stopping smoking or never starting is the best thing to do for your health if you are at risk for [rheumatoid arthritis]."