Previously, I’ve talked a bit about how I started looking into lupus and its relation with different climates. As I continued to do more research, there seemed to be many situations that lupus patients needed to consider. For example, are they allowed to drink? Is the relationship between lupus and alcohol consumption positive or negative?
Most of the time, the point in a person’s life when lupus is discovered is around the standard drinking age. Even though we still don’t know what causes the condition, it seems like lupus mostly becomes active during adulthood. And whether you like alcoholic beverages or not, you’ll probably go out to drink at least once in a while.
Effects of alcohol on lupus patients
Does alcohol affect lupus?
Not surprisingly, the induction of alcoholic beverages can very likely send a person into lupus flares. The booze will leave you dehydrated and even more fatigue than you already are.
The most common type of lupus is systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE for short. Although the degree differs between sufferers, the chances that you might experience inflammation are high. This means you may have to go through light to severe pain all over your body. If the situation prolongs, it can even cause permanent damages.
It’s very likely that your internal organs will also be affected. In other words, having lupus means all your organs are already susceptible and could be attacked at any time.
Liquors, in general, can directly cause damage to a person’s physique. They can make the blood level rise and put the heart as well as liver into full working mode. With lupus also present, these organs are more vulnerable than ever.
What’s more, if you are taking medication for inflammation, they will be less effective under the intake of alcohol. For a few types of prescribed drugs, you might not be allowed to drink at all. This is because the medicine and the alcohol components can’t be mixed, and your organs will be at high risk of bleeding and malfunctioning. Most of the time, booze would only make the condition of your lupus worse.
You can watch this video for a clear explanation of how alcohol can affect autoimmune diseases:
Can you drink if you have lupus?
However, having lupus doesn’t mean that you can’t drink at all. The 2 most important conditions that must be met are 1. moderation, and 2. the interaction of the alcohol and your medication.
To my surprise, a study published on Arthritis Care & Research gave an unexpected result. The data collected showed a reduction of lupus developing risk in women who drink a moderate amount of wine every day. Even though this study had some limitations, it implied the potential benefits of drinking a moderate amount of alcohol.
(you can find the full research and data here)
However, there has been no confirmation that alcohol can help prevent lupus completely. In addition, as we have gone through the relationship between lupus and alcohol consumption, it’s better that you avoid drinking as much as possible.
The first thing you should do is directly ask your doctor if your medications have any alcohol restrictions. For example, if you are taking pain reliefs, there are even fatal effects if they’re mixed with liquor.
Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen can increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and digestive issues. Alcohol has the same effects – therefore, you shouldn’t add more pressure on your body. Or if you have liver malfunctioning due to lupus, it’s also better not to drink too much.
Most of the time, alcohol will reduce the efficiency of your lupus aiding drugs. Thus, you should be aware of how much you drink in order not to worsen your flares.
Saying no to alcohol when you have lupus
Then, what would I do if I were to have lupus and my friends insisted me on drinking out with them?
Personally, I have no problem cutting down on liquors for the rest of my life if needed. I don’t like turning down any chance to have fun with my good friends, either. If you’re like me, just clearly say that your doctor advises you not to drink, and I’m sure your friends will understand. You can still enjoy socializing and don’t have to miss out on the fun because of your condition. Make your doctor the bad guy if you have to!
If you ever get annoyed at the question of why you aren’t drinking, just get an order of special mocktail. Nobody will know that there isn’t any vodka in that tall, fancy glass! Don’t let anyone pressure you into drinking without your consent.
You can offer alternative plans as well, like going for a cup of coffee or a meal to catch up. That way you can still enjoy hanging out and won’t have to think about alcohol.