Gout prevented by cutting on Obesity, drinking, and unhealthy diet, affirms study
Boston, MA: Behavioural factors -- obesity, drinking, unhealthy diet, and diuretics use -- can increase the levels of uric acid which is a precursor to gout, a recent study published in the Arthritis & Rheumatology journal.
The findings suggest that hyperuricemia and resulting gout can be prevented by modifying key risk factors mentioned above.
Gout is the most common inflammatory arthritis affecting 2.4% of adults and typically affects older populations. It is caused by the accumulation of uric acid in the joint. Gouty patients have high levels of hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia.
Hyon K. Choi, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, and colleagues examined modifiable risk factors in relation to the presence of hyperuricemia and estimated the proportion of hyperuricemia cases that could be prevented through risk factor modification in the general population compared with estimates of the variance explained.
The researchers used data from 14,624 adults who completed a series of health surveys from 1988 to 1994. They then calculated how much factors like being overweight, following a diet which is not heart-healthy, taking diuretics or drinking alcohol contributes to high levels of uric acid.
"Blood uric acid levels go up when people are obese, drink too much, eat certain things, or take diuretics, which leads to the increased risk of gout," Choi told Reuters Health. "In contrast, blood uric acid levels go down if people lose weight or change their diet or drinking habits or stop taking diuretics, which would reduce the risk of developing gout."
Key findings include:
- People who were overweight were 85% more likely than those with a healthy body mass index (BMI) to have hyperuricemia, while obese people were 2.7 to 3.5 times more likely to have the condition.
- 44% of the hyperuricemia cases were attributable to excess weight alone.
- 9% of hyperuricemia cases could be prevented by following a heart-healthy diet, 8% were attributable to alcohol use and 12% to diuretic use.
The study did not actually examine whether eliminating those risk factors prevented gout cases in a real population.
"The take-home message is that the risk factors that they examined are modifiable - some of them are easier to modify than others, so individuals can decide what they think they are able to do," said Dr. Michal Melamed, a researcher at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York, who wasn't involved in the study.
To read the complete study log on to https://doi.org/10.1002/art.41067