The Plain Truth

The Plain Truth
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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Alcohol cuts risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis

People who drink alcohol are less prone to the sometimes crippling disease called rheumatoid arthritis compared with non-drinkers, according to a Scandinavian study published on Wednesday.

People who had a moderatealcohol consumption were 40 and 45 percent less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis compared with people who did not drink or drank only occasionally, it found.

Among those who had a high consumption, the risk was reduced by 50 and 55 percent respectively.

Most surprising was that the biggest benefits were seen among smokers with a genetic profile known to make them vulnerable to the disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects between 0.5 and one percent of people, according to figures for the industrialised world.

It happens when the immune system attacks the joints, causing inflammation and damage to the cartilage and bone.

A mixture of environmental factors, especially smoking, and genetic heritage are the deemed causes of the disease.

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