A study of 34,000 Swedish women suggests that consuming more than three alcoholic beverages a week for 10 years could cut your chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis in half.
Researchers looked at the participants’ drinking and smoking habits, diets, physical activity and education between the years 1987 and 1997 then followed the women for an additional seven years. During that time, 200 of the study participants developed rheumatoid arthritis and it was determined that those women who reported consuming at least three alcoholic beverages during the 10 year period were 52% less likely to develop the disease than those women who did not drink.
While these results do not show a cause and effect relationship between alcohol and rheumatoid arthritis, researchers theorize that the findings may be due to alcohol decreasing the body’s immune system and the production of proteins involved in inflammation – the hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis.
For those who already suffer from the disease, drinking alcohol is not advised as it can cause liver damage when paired with many common rheumatoid arthritis medications.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that strikes a disproportionate number of women and affects 1.3 million people in the US.
If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, you can find valuable information on treatments, what to expect at the doctor’s office, and questions to ask about your disease in the Vitals Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient Guide.