'Gout prevalence swells in US over last 2 decades'

Study suggests that greater frequency of obesity and hypertension could explain why rates have increased so much.

August 2, 2011 13:50
1 minute read.
Hospitalized man [illustrative]

man in hospital bed with nurse 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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Gout, an inflammatory arthritis triggered by crystallization of uric acid within the joints, now affects 8.3 million Americans, representing a sharp rise in the prevalence of the disease over the past 20 years, according to new research.

The study, available in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology, suggests that greater frequency of obesity and hypertension could explain why rates have increased so much.

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The study also found that prevalence of increased uric acid levels (hyperuricemia) also rose, affecting 43.3 million adults in the US.

"Our study aim was to determine if the prevalence of gout and hyperuricemia among US adults has continued to climb in the new millennium," said Dr. Hyon Choi, Professor of Medicine in the Section of Rheumatology and the Clinical Epidemiology Unit at Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts and senior investigator of the present study.

Using data from the latest US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the researchers found that gout prevalence was higher in men (six percent) than women (2%); hyperuricemia occurred in 21.2% of men and 21.6% of women.

Dr. Choi concluded, "We found that the prevalence of gout and hyperuricemia continued to be substantial in the US adult population. Improvements in managing modifiable risk factors, such as obesity and hypertension, could help prevent further escalation of gout and hyperuricemia among Americans."

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