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How does alcohol impact your joint health?

On the first week of April, you’re invited to take part in Alcohol-Free Weekend. It’s part of Alcohol Awareness Month and it’s intended to help participants consider whether going without alcohol for three days is difficult or uncomfortable. This April is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the many ways heavy alcohol consumption affects your health, including your joint health. If you’re concerned about your joint health or your alcohol use, the orthopedic and behavioral health specialists at St. Lucie Medical Center are here to help you. We provide compassionate care designed with each patient’s unique needs in mind.

Rheumatoid arthritis

According to the Arthritis Foundation, some studies suggest that enjoying alcohol in moderation might help reduce inflammation throughout the body. This may have a preventive effect regarding rheumatoid arthritis. For women, moderate alcohol consumption means consuming one drink or less daily. For men, it means limiting daily consumption to two drinks or fewer. However, if you currently abstain from alcohol, your doctor would probably recommend that you continue abstaining. And if you already have joint health problems, alcohol might make them worse.

Gout

Gout is a type of arthritis that primarily affects the joint in the big toe. Patients with gout experience flare-ups of burning pain, swelling and stiffness. Alcohol can be particularly problematic for patients with gout. This is because alcohol contains high levels of purines. Purines are substances that break down into uric acid, which can build up in the joints and cause painful gout flare-ups.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis affects bone and joint health by causing the bones to become more porous, brittle and susceptible to fractures. Alcohol consumption increases the likelihood of osteoporosis. Alcoholic beverages prevent the body from absorbing calcium and vitamin D as well as it should. These nutrients are essential for strong bones. In other words, heavy alcohol use increases the likelihood of sustaining fractures, such as hip fractures.

At St. Lucie Medical Center, you’ll find compassionate providers who are committed to healthcare excellence. Our state-of-the-art medical center features orthopedic care for individuals with joint problems and behavioral healthcare for patients with alcohol use disorder. Call our nursing staff at 1.800.382.3522 to request a referral to an orthopedic or behavioral health expert in Treasure Coast.

Categories: Alcohol, Joints

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