Healthy Living

Lupus and Alcohol: What's the Risk?

Lupus and Alcohol: What's the Risk?

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, Inc., one of the main suggestions for lupus patients who want a healthy lifestyle is to avoid alcohol complete. But a lot of patients ask, can one drink really be that harmful?

Everyone knows that alcohol damages the liver, brain, and heart when you drink it in large quantities. Every part of your body can be harmed by alcohol, and studies have shown that drinking alcohol may cause, or worsen, your lupus flare-ups. Researchers, however, looked at what happens when patients drink alcohol in moderation, rather than in large quantities from binge-drinking. 

The results were a little surprising. 

Alcohol: A social norm that may carry a huge risk for lupus patients

It’s fun to go out and drink with friends. It’s the social norm for most people. However, if you have lupus, should you drink with them?

It’s not lupus that causes problems, but it's the interaction with alcohol and medications. Karen H. Costenbader, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard University Medical School Section of Rheumatology, tells her patients that they must know the effect alcohol can have on their liver with these medications, and that they will increase the risk for bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.

Cutting back on alcohol can be tough, but it is necessary if you take medications for lupus and want your body to heal from the inside out.

Read on to learn some guidelines that are critical for lupus patients and what researchers have found about lupus and alcohol.