Could Moderate Alcohol Use Inhibit Progressive Joint Diseases?
If you enjoy the occasional glass of Merlot with dinner, then you probably already know that many doctors believe you could be benefiting your heart. But new research suggests that light to moderate alcohol consumers may also be boosting their resistance to progressive bone and joint disorders like rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a bone, joint, and cartilage disorder that creates permanent inflammation which contributes to chronic pain. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1.3 million Americans live with rheumatoid arthritis, and the cause is as elusive as the cure. As a progressive illness, rheumatoid arthritis can severely impact the quality of life of patients who live with the disease.
Swiss researchers, lead by Dr. Axel Finckh of the University Hospital of Geneva, examined the medical records of 2,908 adult patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The patients had more than two X-rays conducted on their extremities over the course of the study, which lasted four years. Researchers found that the 37 percent of patients who reported occasional or daily drinking experienced less progression of their disorder when compared to people who did not report drinking. Even after adjusting the findings for other factors like age and medication, the relationship between alcohol consumption and slower progression of joint disorders remained.