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Can alcohol affect arthritis? There is no doubt that alcohol is a huge part of adult life for a lot of people. Can alcohol affect arthritis? Whether you partake in the beverage or not, there is a high chance that you will end up encountering it one way or another in your daily life: it could be through large advertisements you see on the freeway while driving, or even as simple and mundane as memes shared on social media. In this article, you’ll learn about can alcohol affect arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Alcohol

Can alcohol affect arthritis? Alcohol isn’t the only staple of adulthood; with age comes a host of illnesses and health conditions as well. One of these is rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which is an autoimmune disease that causes the joints to be inflamed, leading to chronic pains. As time goes on, the inflammation grows more severe, causing the cartilage to deteriorate further and may then result to permanent damage. More than 1.5 Americans are suffering from RA.

If you have RA and are an alcohol drinker, then the question whether there’s a correlation between the two might have popped in your mind. The answer is, it’s a bit of both. Can alcohol affect arthritis? There are some studies that claim that consuming alcohol in moderation may be safe for people with RA. Indeed, alcohol has anti-inflammatory effects that may even be helpful in preventing the development of the disease.

However, the important thing to remember here is the word “moderation.” Excessive alcohol consumption is detrimental to the health, after all, and it can cause severe implications, more so if you’re taking medications for RA as it can interact negatively with the drugs.


Before drinking alcohol, no matter the amount, it’s best to consult first with your doctor about how much exactly you can drink without adverse effects. This is especially important if you have been prescribed meds for managing your RA. Can alcohol affect arthritis? There are some medications that don’t mix well with alcoholic beverages and may thus trigger or even exacerbate RA symptoms.

For instance, drinking alcohol if you are taking ibuprofen or naproxen is not recommended as it may lead to developing stomach ulcers and bleeding. Meanwhile, if you are taking acetaminophen, methotrexate, or leflunomide and still continue to partake in alcoholic beverages, the risks of developing liver diseases grow higher.

Alcohol, Arthritis & Weight Management

Another thing to consider when drinking alcohol if you have RA is your weight. One of the ways to manage symptoms of RA and decrease inflammation is to watch your weight, as this helps lessen pressure exerted on your joints and tissues. Can alcohol affect arthritis? Alcohol, especially beer, is considered a source of empty calories which can lead to weight gain. Cutting back on alcohol is one of the recommendations for losing weight. Additionally, the taste of alcohol tricks our brain into craving more savory or salty foods, which are also huge contributors to gaining weight.

Alcohol, Arthritis & Quality of Sleep

When managing arthritis, or any other health conditions for that matter, ensuring that the body gets enough rest is important. Sleeping is when the body takes a breather and heals itself, allowing the cells and tissues to regenerate. As such, getting enough sleep is paramount to improving one’s health.

The amount of sleep you get is as crucial as the quality of sleep. After all, even if you manage to sleep for more than 8 hours, if it’s marred by restlessness, then you would still be waking up feeling exhausted. Alcohol, though it helps you fall asleep quicker, can result to a deteriorated sleep quality. It causes imbalances in the chemicals your body produces, throwing off your rhythm. Also, consuming alcohol can lead to needing frequent bathroom trips as your body tries to flush out the substance before more of it gets absorbed into the bloodstream. As such, you would likely be waking up often in the middle of the night to relieve yourself.

Getting It Right: How Much Alcohol Is Okay?

Can alcohol affect arthritis? According to the CDC, moderate alcohol consumption amounts to up to 1 drink per day for females and up to 2 drinks per day for males. Of course, this still depends on the medication they are taking.

A glass of red wine as a nightcap could be enough to curb your craving for alcohol. It is one of the healthier varieties of alcohol, after all. However, it is still better for you to consult your physician first if you want to continue partaking in alcoholic beverages even after developing RA. If you do choose to drink, make sure to watch yourself and don’t fall into the trap of drinking excessively (characterized as around 4 drinks at a time for females and around 5 drinks at a time for males).

In Summary

Can alcohol affect arthritis? Alcohol can be healthy in moderation, but excessive intake could have adverse health effects, especially for people with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. It’s best to check with the doctor first to ask whether it’s safe for one to drink alcohol while with RA. Be informed about how much alcohol exactly can be consumed safely to not interfere with prescription meds.

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