Obesity Linked to Higher Risk of Gout

by Hope Gillette ,  | 2012-10-06

Overweight and obese middle-aged individuals may have a significantly increased risk for gout suggests a study published in The American Journal of Medicine. The findings are of particular interest for Hispanics, who, according to the Office of Minority Health, suffer disproportionately from obesity.

The most recent data indicates Hispanics are 1.2 times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be obese. Seventy-eight percent of Mexican-American women are overweight compared to 60.3 percent of non-Hispanic whites, and Mexican-American children are 1.6 times as likely as non-Hispanic white children to have excess weight.

The new study indicates gout is now another complication of obesity, adding to a number of already existent health concerns such as diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, stroke, sleep apnea, arthritis, heart disease and gallstones.

High level of uric acid in the blood can create urate crystals, which accumulate in a joint, causing the severe pain, inflammation and redness known as gout. The Mayo Clinic states a diet rich in certain foods such as organ meats, anchovies, asparagus and mushrooms can also create high levels of uric acid in the bloodstream.

For the research, Janet W. Maynard, MD, MHS at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, and a team of researchers studied information gathered from 6,263 women participating in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. The participants were between the ages of 45 and 65 and had no initial history of gout.

A nine-year follow-up period revealed 106 women developed gout, and obese women were more than twice as likely as non-obese women to develop the condition. Women with early-onset obesity (around the age of 25) had a 2.8 times increased risk for gout when compared to those of normal weight at a younger age.

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