When Is Alcohol Safe for RA?


Evelyn Creekmore

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of the joints. As with many chronic conditions, the lifestyle choices you make are an important part of your treatment plan. The general consensus of the medical community is that arthritis and alcohol don’t mix. Those living with RA should drink alcohol only in moderation (one drink a day), and it’s better not to drink at all. Learn why and remember your doctor is here to help you with all aspects of treatment, including lifestyle changes that may be challenging for you. 

Alcohol and Inflammation

Alcohol makes your liver work harder and can promote inflammation—the core symptom RA treatment plans are designed to relieve. While you may have heard that some studies have linked drinking red wine in moderation to reduced inflammation, it’s always worthwhile to dig a little deeper and understand such studies in context. For example, some of these studies are based on the drinking habits of those who do not yet have RA. The results don’t apply to those who already have it. A general guideline is if you have RA and don’t drink, don’t start. Always look to your doctor as your best resource for interpreting information related to your condition.

W. Hayes Wilson, MD, discusses the basics of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and treatment.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Feb 16, 2015

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