New Survey Reveals Most Americans Unaware of Gout Risk Factors, in the Dark About Connection to Diabetes, Kidney Disease, and Cardiac Problems
CLEVELAND, May 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — A new survey from the nonprofit Gout & Uric Acid Education Society (GUAES) highlights an alarming awareness gap among Americans regarding the risk factors for gout, a chronic, potentially disabling form of arthritis which now affects an estimated 8.3 million Americans.(1) Among the survey findings are that only one in 10 Americans correctly cited cardiovascular disease as a risk factor for gout, while only one in three Americans correctly reported that obesity is a risk factor, and less than one in five reported that diabetes and kidney disease are risk factors. GUAES released the survey findings in advance of its annual Gout Awareness Day on May 22.
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Gout is a form of arthritis caused by an accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints. The crystals form when there are abnormally high levels of uric acid in the body. Gout is one of the most painful forms of arthritis and the most common form of inflammatory arthritis. While gout affects more men than women, post-menopausal women and those with a family history of the disease are also are at risk. Gout can affect any joint in the body and is among the fastest-growing diseases in the United States.
People suffering from gout scored only slightly better than the general population, according to the survey findings, with one in five gout sufferers naming cardiovascular disease as a risk factor for gout, one in five citing diabetes as a risk factor, and one in two correctly reporting obesity as a risk factor.
Furthermore, the survey found that only one in five Americans are aware that family history can be a risk factor for gout, and only two of five patients knew that it can run in families. In contrast, three out of five Americans correctly reported that heart disease and diabetes can run in families.
“These survey findings are cause for concern considering that the incidence of gout has doubled twice in the past 40 years and that gout is associated with other serious health conditions which are also on the rise,” said Brian F. Mandell, MD, chairman of medicine in Rheumatology and Immunologic Diseases, Center for Vasculitis Care and Research at the Cleveland Clinic, and a GUAES board member. “While it is somewhat encouraging that a majority of Americans recognize that gout is a life-long disease which requires constant treatment and attention, they are unaware of what may place them or their family members at risk.”
Living with Gout
A combination of medication and lifestyle modifications, including dietary changes and physical activity are critical to managing this disease, which if left untreated can become as disabling as advanced rheumatoid arthritis. Yet, one in five gout sufferers reported that they don’t do anything to manage the disease. At the same time, nine out of 10 sufferers indicated that gout has interfered with their day-to-day life, such as going to work or running errands.
The survey also found that there are gaps in behaviors that could help gout patients better manage the disease. For example, only one in three gout sufferers associated excessive alcohol with the disease. Patients with gout should moderate their consumption of alcohol, especially beer which is high in purines, a chemical found in alcohol and foods such as red meat and shellfish, and can trigger a gout attack. Patients with gout should also moderate consumption of foods and beverages containing high-fructose corn syrup, which is an ingredient in many sweets, prepared foods, and soft drinks.
The survey findings are encouraging when it comes to awareness among patients of the importance of having their uric acid level monitored. Nearly nine in 10 gout patients know that people with gout should have their uric acid level checked regularly. In contrast, less than half of gout sufferers were also aware that their weight, kidney function, blood pressure, cholesterol level and glucose level should also be checked regularly.
For more information about the survey findings and educational resources for patients and medical professionals, visit www.gouteducation.org. A free patient brochure is available to order or download from the website.
About the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society
Formed in September 2005, the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society has a comprehensive patient education brochure, as well as a user-friendly website for patients, caregivers, family members and healthcare providers. For more information about gout and the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society, please visit. Follow @GoutEducation on Twitter or “like” Gout Education on Facebook.
Gout Awareness Day 2011 is sponsored by Ardea Biosciences, Savient Pharmaceuticals and Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America.
Survey Methodological Notes
The survey was conducted by Kelton Research May 2-9, 2011, using an email invitation and an online survey to reach two distinct audiences: 1,000 nationally representative Americans age 18 and over and 235 Americans suffering from gout ages 18 and over. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular survey, the chances are 97 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points (nationally representative sample) and 6.4 percentage points (gout sufferers) from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.
NOTE: Content does not reflect the views, opinions or commercial interests of Gout & Uric Acid Education Society sponsors.
1. According to the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2007-2008
SOURCE Gout & Uric Acid Education Society