Moderate consumption of alcohol is combined with a reduced risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, suggests a study published in the British Medical Journal today.
The results show that women who regularly consume more than three alcoholic drinks a week for a period of at least 10 years have about half the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis compared with non-drinkers.
Thousands of patients worst hit by rheumatoid arthritis will be denied a ‘last chance’ treatment that could ease their symptoms because the Government’s drug rationing body says it’s too expensive. Orencia is licensed for use in patients who have failed to respond to other medication, including the most advanced current treatment of anti-TNF drugs. An estimated 3,500 of the most badly affected sufferers in England and Wales are affected by the ruling from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence …
After adjusting for elements such as age, dietary, and smoking habits, women who reported drinking more than three glasses of alcohol per week in both 1987 and 1997 had a 52% reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis compared with never drinkers at both assessments.
Rheumatoid factor less than 10
These findings add to a growing body of evidence that long term moderate alcohol consumption isn’t harmful and may protect against a chronic disease like rheumatoid arthritis, say the authors. However, they stress that the impact of higher doses of alcohol on the risk of rheumatoid arthritis remains unknown.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory joint disorder that normally develops between the ages of 40 and 50. About 1% of the world population is affected-women three times more frequently than men. Some studies have demonstrated that drinking alcohol is combined with a lower risk of rheumatic arthritis, whereas others have found no association.
QUESTION: High Rheumatoid Factor?Our family doctor ran a blood test on my 17 year old daughter for her joint pain, her rheumatoid factor is 158, yes, 158! 20 or less is normal. So we've been referred to a rheumatologist. Her appointment is in 3 weeks. Is this result, almost 8 times above normal cause to panic? This is gonna be a long 3 weeks. I assume more tests will follow but this one result is really freaking us out right now. What can this 158 result mean? Is it severely high?
Approximately 10% of the population has a positive Rheumatoid Factor. Only 1-2% of the population has Rheumatoid Arthritis, and of this 1-2%, 40% test negative for the RF. As your doctor appears to have symptoms suggestive of an autoimmune disease, it is possible that this is why she is testing positive for the RF. Did she have any other tests done? ANA can be suggestive of some other autoimmune connective tissue diseases. CRP and ESR are measurements of inflammation which are a common feature of autoimmunity. If these are elevated, it often means the disease is active. A complete blood count may find other abnormalities. Generally the higher the RF does not mean worse the disease. Those with RA and a positive RF generally have a more destructive disease, but there are exceptions. The rheumatologist will evaluate your doctor. It's possible that she'll be given a diagnosis of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. This is an autoimmune disease that affects the joints causing inflammation in young people. It's usually treated with anti-inflammatories, steroids, immuno-suppressants and biologic agents. The main aim is to prevent joint damage. ……
She has a connective tissue disease of some kind. It could be RA or another kind.
The relation between alcohol intake and rheumatoid arthritis remains controversial. So a team of researchers based in Sweden set out to analyse this association among 34, 141 Swedish women born between 1914 and 1948.
Detailed information about alcohol consumption, diet, smoking history, education level, and physical activity was collected in 1987 and then in 1997.
Participants were followed up for seven years (Jan 2003 to Dec 2009) when they were aged 54-89 years, during which time 197 new cases of rheumatoid arthritis were registered.
The age-standardized rate of rheumatoid arthritis was smaller among women who drank more than four glasses of alcohol a week (7 per 10, 000 person years) than among women who drank fewer than one glass a week (9.1 per 10, 000 person years) as reported in 1997.
Some of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are loss of appetite, low-grade fever, stiffness, fatigue in addition to joints and muscles aches. The conditions can spread to other areas of the body, such as organs, besides the joints. To deduce that it is rheumatoid arthritis, stiffness, occurring in the morning should last for longer than an hour and there’s pain in addition to swelling for more than six weeks. Most probably, you’ll feel discomfort in both hands and feet.
The doctor will diagnose rheumatoid arthritis through a look at the patient medical history, a more closely at the joints for deformity and inflammation as well as looking out for nodules in the skin and inflammation on other areas of the body. As there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis yet, the goal is to reduce the pain and inflammation to the joints as well as ensuring mobility and during the same time, prevent further damage and deformity to the joints.
One standard glass of alcohol was defined as approximately 500 ml beer, 150 ml of wine or 50 ml of liquor.
Further analyses made little difference to the results, supporting the thesis that a moderate amount of alcohol may represent a protective factor for rheumatoid arthritis. The authors suggest that this is more likely to be due to alcohol’s ability to reduce the body’s immune response.
This is relevant because rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease-it causes the immune system. These usually fights infection, to attack the cells that line the joints.
More information: Long term alcohol intake and risk of rheumatoid arthritis in women: a population based cohort study, British Medical Journal.