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Why Do Your Joints Hurt After Drinking – Can Bad Habits Make Arthritis Worse?

February 5, 2024

Why Do Your Joints Hurt After Drinking – Can Bad Habits Make Arthritis Worse?

In this highly social world, youngsters and adults find an opportunity to engage in habitual activities as a diversion, like alcohol consumption, is a common trend. While this generation has made drinking cool and binge drinking even cooler, it is not known but drinking can aggravate the rheumatoid arthritis condition. 

After drinking, the symptoms of a hangover can be common, including headache or foggy brain. Some might even feel joint pain because they get inflamed as well. After all, alcohol is inflammatory when consumed excessively. 

The level of inflammation and severity of the pain depends upon the medications one takes for managing rheumatoid arthritis, the amount of liquor or alcohol consumed, frequency of drinking, and other personal factors. Let's understand the connection between arthritis and alcohol consumption and whether it means the end of the happy hour for people with arthritis. 

Understanding Arthritis

Arthritis can be referred to as a condition in which one or more joints are swollen and sore. Joint stiffness and pain are the significant symptoms of arthritis, and they usually worsen with age. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are the most common forms of arthritis. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the joints, and in osteoarthritis, the cartilage that caps the bone wears away with time and age. 

Connection Between Alcohol and Arthritis

The connection between alcohol and arthritis consumption is inflammation. Inflammation is the body's response to anything foreign or irritant to the body. It is a biological response in which the inflammatory mediators are released in the body's bloodstream and transported to the offending affected area for it to heal. Now, inflammation is not beneficial to healing, as the immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy tissues, which leads to painful inflammation like rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis. 

Now, regarding the connection between joints and alcohol consumption, alcohol causes inflammation, and it leads to the release of inflammatory mediators. It reaches the affected site and attacks the joints and tissue in the body, which causes pain. Besides, here are the other ways drinking affects arthritis

  •  Affects immune system functioning

The innate, or nonspecific, immune system, which protects the body from pathogens and other substances, is adversely affected by alcohol. Alcohol inhibits the activation of monocytes, an essential process in the typical inflammatory response. White blood cells, known as monocytes, mobilize other white blood cells to fight illness. Inflammation may intensify if there is interference with monocyte activation.

  • Disrupts sleep 

Even while sleep and joint pain may not go hand in hand, weariness can exacerbate joint discomfort. Alcohol suppresses REM sleep, which results in poor-quality sleep. There are theories regarding the connection between higher levels of inflammation and poor-quality sleep. One is that your central nervous system (CNS) performs poorly when you don't get enough sleep regularly. Another is that research has shown elevated levels of inflammatory markers in the blood of sleep-deprived individuals.

  • Increased uric acid levels

A round of alcohol may raise uric acid levels. Accumulating uric acid raises the risk of gout and other inflammatory joint diseases. Researchers think there may be a connection between uric acid levels in the synovial fluid of patients with osteoarthritis and alcohol consumption.

  • Drinking and mental illness

Having to cope with arthritic symptoms can increase your vulnerability to tiredness, anxiety, or despair. Remember that alcohol slows down the parts of your brain involved in behaviour and thought processes since it is depressive. You might suffer mood swings if you turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism for mental health problems. 

  • Arthritis drug interactions and alcohol

Alcohol and certain medications used to treat arthritic symptoms don't mix well. It includes NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines) due to an increased risk of bleeding and stomach ulcers, such as ibuprofen (marketed under brand names such as Advil and Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). Drinking alcohol together with rheumatoid arthritis treatments such as leflunomide (Arava), methotrexate (Trexall), or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can increase your risk of liver damage. 

Does Arthritis Mean the End of Happy Hour? Four Tips to Drink Safely Without Affecting Arthritis

If you are wondering that arthritis means never touching alcohol, well, that's not the case. There is a ray of hope; however, people with arthritis need to be extra careful while drinking alcohol: 

  • Moderation is the key

It is generally recommended that one must consume alcohol in moderation, even among people who have arthritis. Alcohol overconsumption may worsen the inflammation, thereby leading to arthritic syndrome.

  • Choose wisely

Choose light beverages that are less rich in alcohol and additives. Drinking light beer, wine or spirits mixed with water or soda would probably be better for health than consuming strong alcoholic drinks or sugary cocktails.

  • Stay hydrated

You have to remember that staying hydrated is essential, especially if you take alcohol. Dehydration may make the symptoms of arthritis worse. Remember to drink lots of water before taking alcoholic drinks as well as after consumption.

  • Be mindful of medications.

Remember that most arthritic and other medications react with alcohol. However, some drugs can cause side effects when taken together with alcohol. Hence, you should always seek advice from the doctor.

Habits That Can Make Your Worsen Your Arthritis Except Drinking

Although moderate drinking could be okay for some arthritis patients, certain behaviors aggravate arthritic symptoms. It's essential to consider the following:

  • Poor diet

Inflammation can be caused by diets rich in processed sugar and saturated fat. Such balanced and healthy diets should incorporate lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, among other things.

  • Sedentary lifestyle

It has been noted that failure to engage in regular workouts can lead to joint stiffness and pains. Exercise will be beneficial in regaining the lost function and minimizing arthritic pain if one does it regularly, depending on individual capability and choice.

  • Ignoring medical advice

Ensure you stick to your healthcare provider's guidelines and strictly adhere to medical prescriptions. Failure or refusal to take medical treatment often aggravates the symptoms and hastens joint destruction.

  • Smoking

Smoking is a risk factor for the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Reducing cigarette smoking might be beneficial to your general health as well as alleviate or lessen some of the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms that you experience.

Wrapping up, 

A healthy lifestyle based on reducing alcohol consumption, including following an anti-inflammatory diet, maintaining physical activity, and giving up smoking, constitutes a necessary background for joint health protection. By understanding how our habits can affect arthritis symptoms, we can make decisions to help us lead a life with less pain in our bones.

Besides, if you are concerned about whether your alcohol consumption can mess up your arthritis, it is best to consult expert doctors. Apollo Spectra doctors can assist you in living your life to the fullest while giving you guidelines and medications to manage your arthritis. So, what are you waiting for? Visit your nearest Apollo Spectra Hospital and forget about the arthritis pain after celebrating your happy hour!

Will giving up alcohol help with arthritis?

The medications you take for your arthritis, the amount and frequency of your alcohol consumption, and any other risk factors all play a role in the outcome. Giving alcohol can have beneficial results on your arthritis; however, if you cannot help it, drinking in small portions and occasionally might assist in not worsening the arthritis.

Which types of alcohol are safe for people with arthritis?

Ans- Resveratrol, a substance found in red wine, has long been known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming wine is linked to a lower chance of developing knee osteoarthritis (OA), and moderate drinking is linked to a lower risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

What factors worsen arthritis?

Ans- Arthritis can also be brought on by high-protein foods (such as beer or shellfish), dehydration, abrupt changes in renal function, or local joint trauma (such as bruising your big toe). The chance of experiencing arthritis pain brought on by these triggers should be reduced by using urate-lowering medications.

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