Alcohol consumption lowers risk of developing several arthritic conditions including Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Osteoarthritis (OA), reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and spondylarthropathy, says a new study.
"We know from previous research that alcohol consumption may confer a protective effect against developing RA, our data have shown that this effect may apply to other arthritic conditions too," said Dr Annekoos Leonoor Huidekoper, Leiden University Medical Centre, Netherlands and lead author of the study.
In this Dutch study, patients with arthritic conditions were enrolled from the Leiden Early Arthritis Cohort and healthy controls recruited from the Multiple Environmental and Genetic Assessment of risk factors for venous thrombosis study.
Alcohol consumption was recorded at baseline (units per week), and the effect of alcohol consumption on risk of disease development was analysed by univariate and multivariate logistic regression (statistical tests that predict the probability of an event occurring).
Odds ratios and confidence intervals (95 percent) were adjusted for age, sex, Body Mass Index (BMI) and smoking.
Professor Paul Emery, President of EULAR and arc Professor of Rheumatology, Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Leeds, UK said: "These are very interesting findings but we should assert the need for caution in the interpretation of these data. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation, with consideration for local public health recommendations. A number of social and medical problems are associated with increased consumption of alcohol; therefore any positive implications of its use must be understood within the wider health context."
The study has been presented at EULAR 2010, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Rome, Italy.