UL research highlights risks of Gout

Eugene Phelan

Reporter:

Eugene Phelan

Prof Austin Stack [Picture: Press 22]
GOUT, often referred to as rich man’s disease, could be more dangerous than most people realise according to reseachers at the University of Limerick.

GOUT, often referred to as rich man’s disease, could be more dangerous than most people realise according to reseachers at the University of Limerick.

A new study led by researchers at the Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS) at UL which has found that people suffering from gout and elevated serum uric acid have significantly increased risks of death.

In their study, individuals with a diagnosis of gout experienced a 42 % higher risk of death from all causes and a 58% higher risk of cardiovascular death.

The risks were greatest for individuals with the highest uric acid concentrations.

Gout is an inflammatory arthritis that is due to uric acid crystal deposition in joints and typically causes acute painful swelling of one or more joints, most commonly the big toe.

In the study, a team led by Professor Austin Stack, examined the relationships of gout and serum uric acid with mortality over a 10 year period in 15,773 individuals from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III)

“Most published studies to date have not looked at the combined impact of gout and elevated uric acid concentrations on the risk of death in representative samples of the population,” according to Professor Stack.

“First, we found that individuals with a diagnosis of gout had a great abundance of many known cardiovascular conditions and risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, physical inactivity, obesity and smoking. These would certainly put individuals into a high risk category. But even when we took these factors into account; individuals in the study with gout died earlier than those without and also experienced a higher risk of dying from heart disease,” he added.