What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a broad term which covers over 100 conditions. The word comes from a mix of the Greek “athron” (joint) and Latin “itis” (inflammation). Although the condition can affect people at any age, the most common form is osteoarthritis which predominantly affects people into old age.
Causes of Arthritis
Any form of arthritis is caused when there’s a malfunction in the joint system. For instance, healthy joints are covered and protected by a layer of material called cartilage. Wearing away of the cartilage can result in the bones rubbing together. Insufficient synovial fluid, which lubricates and nourishes the cartilage and joint, can also cause arthritic problems.
It has been suggested that moderate alcohol consumption can reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Fortunately, there are many changes you can make in your life that will safely reduce your risk of developing this condition, including changing your diet and getting more sunshine, without resorting to consuming a poison. (See Reason to Avoid Drinking below)
There are many symptoms of arthritis, depending on which form of the condition you are suffering from.†
Joint inflammation or swelling
Loss of appetite
Reasons to Avoid Drinking
Drinking can interfere with medications taken by arthritis sufferers
Alcohol consumption can contribute towards gout, a form of arthritis.
Alcohol abuse increases inflammation
Drinking can cause weight gain which in turn can contribute to arthritis
Alcohol users risk bone loss AKA osteoporosis
Arthritis and alcohol both disrupt sleep
Women are more susceptible to the effects of alcohol and are twice as likely to be affected by arthritis
Alcohol dehydrates the body – as does arthritis
Alcohol and Arthritis Medication
If you are taking medication for rheumatoid arthritis, drinking alcohol can cause liver problems. Your liver will already be working overtime to metabolize the medication, adding alcohol into the mix can be very dangerous.
Talk to your doctor before taking alcohol with any medication.
Consequences if Untreated
Leaving arthritis untreated can result in osteoporosis, anemia, joint deformity, joint destruction, disability, loss of function, and coronary heart disease.* According to an NHS consultant rheumatologist, Dr Karim Raza, “The condition does not just affect the joints. People with rheumatoid arthritis typically die 10 years younger from premature heart disease”. **
Treatment options include losing weight, avoiding alcohol and certain types of food, getting exercise, and taking prescribed medication.
Arthritis is a condition that runs in my family. Before I stopped drinking, I would get a lot more pain in my legs after a drinking session, especially when going down steps or walking across rough ground (something I couldn’t avoid working in forestry). Since quitting drinking, I don’t get so many symptoms. I think this has a lot to do with losing a lot of excess body weight. The closer I get to my ideal weight, the less pain I experience.
Where to Find Further Information About Alcohol and Arthritis
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