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Alcohol Effects on Arthritis and Joint Pain

By    |   Tuesday, 18 August 2015 02:55 PM

While some people say drinking alcohol causes them to have stiff and painful joints, research has not yet concluded that drinking has an impact on those with arthritis.

According to WebMD, beer and liquor consumption can increase the risk of gout, a buildup of uric acid that creates pain in the feet and knees, but wine did not seem to have the same effect. Alcohol also may interfere with the effectiveness of some pain medications, making pain feel more intense.

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Alcohol can suppress the immune system after a period of time with heavy consumption, WebMD said, opening the door to many health problems. It can also cause neuropathy, making someone feel a pins and needles sensation in their extremities, a compounded effect with those who suffer from arthritis.

Healthline calls alcohol an arthritis "trigger food" along with others like dairy, fried and processed items, salt and preservatives, and corn oil, among others.

Drinking alcohol is not recommended for those on disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), which are taken for rheumatoid arthritis. Long-term DMARD use is associated with liver toxicity, Everyday Health noted.

"At least one in 1,000 patients taking methotrexate will develop liver cirrhosis," Robert W. Lightfoot, MD, a professor of internal medicine in the division of rheumatology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, told Everday Health. "It is not known whether methotrexate alone causes the cirrhosis or if drinking alcohol while taking methotrexate is the cause."

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But the website suggests that liver damage in rheumatoid arthritis patients typically occurs in those who abuse alcohol or have had a pre-existing liver disease and suggests that because the medications create such a potential for liver problems, those who take them should not consume more than two drinks weekly.

Dr. Iliriana Bisha Tagani says the relationship between joint pain and alcohol consumption is real.

"Alcohol is a diuretic (which makes the body lose more water and urinate more) which leads to dehydration," she wrote for SteadyHealth. "As the ligaments (which are soft tissues sandwiched between the bones) contain lots of water, and need water periodically to have it soft and spongy, drinking alcohol leads to excess removal of water from the body, thereby dehydrating the several body parts."

She added: "The ligaments are one of the first to get affected by dehydration, as they contain lots of water. When the dried out ligaments are no longer able to provide the soft cushioning between the bones at the joints, any movement of the joints can lead to unbearable pain and arthritis."

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While some people say drinking alcohol causes them to have stiff and painful joints, research has not yet concluded that drinking has an impact on those with arthritis.
alcohol, effects, arthritis, joint, pain
Tuesday, 18 August 2015 02:55 PM
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