July 29, 2011

More Americans Living With Gout

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- New research suggests the prevalence of gout has risen over the past 20 years in the United States.

Gout is an inflammatory arthritis that is triggered by crystallization of uric acid within the joints. The condition causes severe pain and swelling. Gout is linked to metabolic syndrome -- a group of health conditions characterized by obesity, insulin resistance, high blood pressure and blood lipid problems.

In this new study, researchers found gout now affects about 8.3 million Americans. That's about 4 percent of the population. They believe a rise in obesity and hypertension have likely contributed to the increased prevalence of gout.

The investigators also found the prevalence of increased uric acid levels (hyperuricemia) also rose, affecting 43.3 million adults or about 21 percent of the population in the United States.

"Our study aim was to determine if the prevalence of gout and hyperuricemia among U.S. adults has continued to climb in the new millennium," 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, was quoted as saying. "We found that the prevalence of gout and hyperuricemia continue to be substantial in the U.S. adult population. Improvements in managing modifiable risk factors, such as obesity and hypertension, could help prevent further escalation of gout and hyperuricemia among Americans."

SOURCE: Arthritis & Rheumatism, July 28, 2011