Patients who have early arthritis consume less alcohol than controls, regardless of the type of arthritis, according to a new study published online today in the journal Rheumatology. In rheumatoid arthritis (RA) specifically, the inverse association between alcohol and disease was greater in men than it was in women.
Many new risk factors for RA have been discovered, although the only environmental risk factor that has been consistently shown to be associated with the disease is smoking. Studies examining alcohol consumption and RA have so far had conflicting results. In this new study, Annekoos L. Huidekoper, Diane van der Woude, and colleagues set out to investigate whether there is an association between alcohol consumption and arthritis in general, and with RA in particular.
- 53-68% of arthritis patients reported consuming alcohol.
- The lowest figure came from respondents with ACPA-positive RA.
- The highest figure came from patients with psoriatic arthritis.
- In patients with RA, the inverse association between alcohol and the disease was greater in men than it was in women.
- The study did not find any significant dose-response relationship
- They did not they detect an association between alcohol and the rate of joint destruction when examined over seven years
- One hypothesis might be that alcohol may suppress both the innate and adaptive immune system leading to a decrease of joint inflammation, as has been suggested by some previous studies.