Alcohol & Arthritis: Can Your Joints get a hangover too?
Everyone knows that alcohol can damage the liver, but did you know that excessive amounts of alcohol can have lasting effects for those suffering with painful joints & arthritis? While you may have recovered from all of the adult beverages you consumed over the holidays, your joints could still be suffering.
Alcohol is a diuretic (a drug or substance that increases the passing of urine) that forces your body to lose water, which in turn, dehydrates your ligaments & tissues. Your joints rely heavily on having sufficient fluids to move smoothly & function properly so your ligaments, which contain a lot of water, are usually the first structures in the body to be affected when dehydration begins. Because of this, your joints will have insufficient fluids to provide the smooth, soft cushion needed for movement and in turn can result in agonizing joint pain, especially for those with underlying arthritis symptoms.
Not only can mixing different types of alcohol get you in trouble (Beer before liquor), but mixing alcohol with certain arthritis medications can cause real problems for your body too. Certain long-term rheumatoid arthritis medicines, such as DMARDs, can cause liver damage on their own but when mixed with alcohol, your odds for liver damage increase exponentially.
Though it has not yet been conclusively proven, many doctors believe there is a real connection between drinking alcohol & joint pain and suggest drinking in moderation. It may not be necessary to forego alcohol all together but drinking in moderation can minimize joint dehydration, allowing your joints to function normally.
According to WebMD wine drinkers may be the exception. According to the article, wine didn’t result in an increased risk of gout or arthritis, which is good news for the wine crowd! Keep in mind that excess alcohol may leave you with a joint hangover long after your head has cleared and don’t forget to Hydrate!