Gout patients 'at higher risk of heart attack and stroke'
Published on 04 October 2013
Patients suffering from gout are at a considerably higher risk of suffering from serious comorbidities such as heart attack and stroke.
This is the conclusion of a new study from the University of Oxford published in the medical journal Rheumatology, which found that gout patients are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke as those without gout.
The research assessed data from more than 205,000 gout sufferers provided by NHS England and the Office for National Statistics, with two sets of data for patients between 1963 and 2011 used to track their health over five decades.
It was suggested that the higher levels of uric acid which cause gout are also a strong risk factor for heart attack and stroke, with the conclusion underlining the need to address these comorbidities and include preventative measures within gout treatment to the risk of these serious additional problems.
According to the British Society for Rheumatology, these findings support the provision of high-quality holistic care to gout sufferers at a primary care level and via GPs.
Olena Seminog, the lead researcher on this study, said: "This evidence could help to guide ways of improving cardiovascular health for people with gout, while also suggesting that more research is needed to reveal the effects of uric acid on our health."
It is estimated that around one in 70 people in the UK are affected by gout, a condition that sees crystals of sodium urate produced by the body forming inside joints, causing significant pain and discomfort.
Men are generally more likely to be affected than women, while the incidence of gout is also known to increase with age.
A spokeswoman for Arthritis Research UK commented: "Despite national guidelines on how to manage and treat gout effectively in primary care, there is a real lack of awareness among both patients and health professionals about how best to treat this painful condition.
"We are therefore funding a study examining the effectiveness of a practical, nurse-led package of care which includes ensuring best use of available drugs to reduce urate levels, in combination with individualised lifestyle advice on weight loss and diet."