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Dry January has become an important landmark in the health calendar and this year coincides with updated advice from the UK’s chief medical officers, who say that no-one should drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week.

It is an opportunity to raise money for charity and give your body a break from the booze.

Patients taking part in Dry January often report that making an effort to cut down on drinking alcohol means they feel better, have more energy, sleep better, and sometimes lose weight.

However, giving up alcohol isn’t as easy as some people expect.

A survey conducted on behalf of the Pharmacy2U Online Doctor service in 2015 found that more than half of all British drinkers who vowed to have a dry January had given in to temptation after only two weeks.

Drinking too much alcohol

An unhealthy relationship with alcohol and regularly drinking too much can affect health and wellbeing, as well as impacting on wider aspects of life.

While moderate drinking can be an enjoyable part of many people’s lives, alcohol is both physically and psychologically addictive.

Alcohol increases the risk of a range of health problems, including obesity, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and a range of cancers.

The updated guidance from the UK’s chief medical officers is that there is no such thing as a safe level of drinking and reducing how much you drink is always a good idea.

Cut down on drinking alcohol

Reducing how much alcohol you drink is always beneficial and your GP will be able to provide you with advice on cutting down.

Relatively new are medicines that can help by reducing the pleasant feelings associated with drinking alcohol.

Whether you give up alcohol completely during January or just reduce how much you drink, it’s worth making an effort for the good of your health.

Early detection of rheumatoid arthritis

Patients at risk of rheumatoid arthritis could receive much earlier treatment thanks to a new blood test that can identify potential sufferers up to 16 years before the disease develops.

Scientists from the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at Oxford University targeted antibodies found in the bodies of people with the condition, which causes painful swelling of the joints and stiffness.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects many people in England and Wales and cause significant pain and mobility problems. Treatments can help to slow the progressive nature of the disease and can be more effective if started earlier.