When it comes to alcohol, we usually hear about the negative impact that drinking could have on your health.
But a recent study has found that drinking some alcohol could actually reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) – an autoimmune condition that sees a person’s immune system attack their joints, making them swollen, painful and stiff. The report, published in RMD Open, claimed drinking alcohol lowered the risk of developing RA by 30 per cent.
But the Swedish academics involved in the study were quick to stress that they did not recommend teetotal people start drinking alcohol to lower their odds of developing the condition, as there are clearly other health risks associated with booze.
The study looked at data from 43,863 participants collected over an 18-year period. No one involved was known to have RA before the study began.
Smoking is known to increase chance of diagnosis
Smoking is a known risk factor for developing RA. And researchers found that smokers who did not drink were at an even higher risk of developing RA, with alcohol seeming to counteract some of the negative impacts of smoking.
In contrast, smokers who also drank were found to be less likely to develop RA as they got older.
More research is now planned to understand why alcohol may offer some protection from the autoimmune condition, which affects more than 400,000 people in the UK.
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