Posted By: bilko Alcohol - 07/28/10 07:42 AM
The following is a rather garbled cut and paste from a report on the BBC website -

Drinking alcohol can 'reduce severity' of arthritis. More research is needed to find out why alcohol can have an effect on arthritis symptoms. Drinking alcohol can not only ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis it appears to reduce disease severity too, research suggests.

Scientists at the University of Sheffield asked two groups of patients with and without the disease to provide details of their drinking habits.

They found that patients who had drunk alcohol most frequently experienced less joint pain and swelling.

Experts say this should not be taken as a green light for drinking more.

In the study, 873 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were compared to 1,004 people who did not have it.

Both groups were asked how often they had drunk alcohol in the month running up to the start of the study.

''It's possible that the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of alcohol may play a role in reducing the severity of symptoms''
Dr James Maxwell
consultant rheumatologist

Patients completed a detailed questionnaire, had X-rays and blood tests, and a nurse examined their joints.

'Less damage'

Dr James Maxwell, consultant rheumatologist and lead author of the study, explained the findings.

"We found that patients who had drunk alcohol most frequently had symptoms that were less severe than those who had never drunk alcohol or only drunk it infrequently."

X-rays showed there was less damage to their joints, blood tests showed lower levels of inflammation, and there was less joint pain, swelling and disability in those patients, the researchers found.

They say they do not yet understand why drinking alcohol should reduce the severity of RA, and people's susceptibility to developing it.

Dr Maxwell said: "There is some evidence to show that alcohol suppresses the activity of the immune system, and that this may influence the pathways by which RA develops.

"Once someone has developed RA, it's possible that the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of alcohol may play a role in reducing the severity of symptoms," he added.

The authors say that further research is needed to confirm the results of the study and to investigate how and why alcohol has an effect on rheumatoid arthritis.

Previous studies have shown that alcohol may reduce the risk of developing the disease in the first place.

Similarly, in the current study non-drinkers were four times more likely to develop RA than people who drank alcohol on more than 10 days a month.

A spokeswoman for Arthritis Research UK, which co-funded the research, said: "We would not want people with RA to take this research to mean that they should go out and start drinking alcohol frequently and in large amounts as this could be detrimental to their health."

She said some RA treatments, like the immunosuppressant drug methotrexate, can damage the liver when taken with large amounts of alcohol.

The patients in the study did not drink more than the recommended limit of 10 units of alcohol a week.
Posted By: EricaK Re: Alcohol - 07/28/10 02:17 PM
Originally Posted By: bilko

The patients in the study did not drink more than the recommended limit of 10 units of alcohol a week.

And therein lies the rub, how does one limit their drinking to 10 "units" a week? A unit I imagine is close to an ounce.

Thanks for posting, but I think I'd better do without!

Peace rainbow
Posted By: WendyR Re: Alcohol - 07/28/10 02:26 PM
Guess that's why I've got RA - don't drink. crazy
Posted By: EricaK Re: Alcohol - 07/28/10 02:39 PM
Hi Wendy,

Do you have AS and RA?

I wonder how to tell the difference between SpA peripheral joint pain and RA joint pain?

Maybe you can shed some light on the subject.

Peace rainbow
Posted By: WendyR Re: Alcohol - 07/29/10 12:27 AM
No AS, just RA. It's not easy to tell the difference. I originally arrived on this site with suspected AS. My shoulders, sternum, sternoclavicular joints were the worst affected at first. It hurt to sneeze or take a deep breath. Plus I had no finger or wrist involvement so RA didn't appear to be likely. We knew it was an inflammatory arthritis because I had hugely elevated CRP and ESR. I also had a positive ANA but a negative RF.

As the disease developed, my hips, tailbone and knees became involved. At first the tailbone pain was mistaken for SI joint pain. The hips got really bad so I couldn't walk more than a few steps and my knees swelled. However, there was no spinal involvement. My second rheumy suggested early RA and my third rheumy confirmed it. Soon after, my wrists and fingers became involved and it started to look more like classic RA.

I'm currently taking methotrexate, prednisone and celebrex. I'm trying to wean myself off prednisone but it's a very slow process - I'm currently at 4.5 mg per day.

Key differences are: no spinal involvement, symmetrical joint involvement (i.e. same finger joints, both knees, both hips, etc.) HLAB27 neg (although we all know that's no guarantee). Also I have a family history of RA.
Posted By: EricaK Re: Alcohol - 07/29/10 12:47 AM
This whole autoimmune deal is SO WEIRD! I have symetrical joint involvement in my hands, wrists, and elbows but nowhere else. My right ankle knee, SI joint, hip, and shoulder give me fits and sometimes midback, sternum, ribs. On the left it's only one spot in my foot. Opposite to you, I'm positive for everything but my inflamation markers are usually almost flat. Cymbalta has been working well for me for a month now, and I'm really enjoying the period of relative comfort. I don't have total faith in tests though, because one of my sisters is ANA- RF- HLAB27- yet she's had fully blown lupus for 27 years and has such severe red swelling joint flares that she's in bed for 2-3 weeks sometimes... complete with a wicked butterfly rash. I am glad there are such empathetic people who want to become rheumatologists, but still they are simply highly educated guessers. I say we should all have as much fun as is humanly possible under the circumstances while we can still squeeze some in! I see you're in BC. I look at Victoria across the water every morning when I have my cup of coffee.

Peace smile
Posted By: WendyR Re: Alcohol - 07/29/10 04:31 AM
Then you might enjoy this youtube video of the gratitude dance that is filmed in Victoria:

We posted in elsewhere on KickAs but I can't find where.
Posted By: Dow Re: Alcohol - 07/29/10 04:51 AM
I remember, Possi's party, that you hosted! yes
Posted By: WendyR Re: Alcohol - 07/29/10 05:11 AM
Was that video part of that party? I wondered where it had been posted - I think you could be right.
Posted By: EricaK Re: Alcohol - 07/29/10 05:21 AM
I love it!
Posted By: Dow Re: Alcohol - 07/29/10 07:01 AM
That was a fun night!

KickAS Party!!
Posted By: Sue22 Re: Alcohol - 07/29/10 07:46 AM
that was fun! yes roll yes
Posted By: alohaben Re: Alcohol - 08/31/10 03:51 PM
hey, when the nurse checks the joints does she/he determine the potency of the herb within ????
Posted By: mom2many Re: Alcohol - 08/31/10 09:52 PM
Took me a sec, but floor