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Study finds no link between gout and risk of broken bones

Published on 22 May 2018
Study finds no link between gout and risk of broken bones

People with gout are not generally at an increased risk of suffering a fracture, new research has shown.

A study funded by NIHR and led by researchers based at Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre at Keele University has shown that neither the disease itself nor its associated treatments are likely to increase a person's risk of broken bones.

A large-scale study
An increased risk of fractures is often associated with chronic inflammatory conditions. The new research aimed to clarify whether this is the case for people with gout - a form of inflammatory arthritis.

The researchers followed more than 30,000 people with gout for up to 13 years, until they experienced their first broken bone. They compared this group against more than 120,000 people without the disease.

No difference was found between the two groups' likeliness to suffer broken bones. They also found that medication used to control urate - the substance that builds up in the joints of people with gout - did not put them at greater risk of fractures.

Positive implications for gout patients
Past studies into the links between gout and risk of bone fractures have thrown up conflicting results. The fact that this study was based on data from a large population sample adds legitimacy to its findings, and should offer reassurance to people who might be concerned about gout-related health complications.

Dr Zoe Paskins of the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre at Keele University said: "Our use of a nationally representative cohort should enable our study findings to be generalisable not only to the UK, but also to other countries with similar healthcare systems."

Arthritis Research UK's view
Dr Devi Sagar, research liaison manager at Arthritis Research UK, said: "A study of this magnitude can offer reassurance to people living with gout who might be worried about complications like fractures.

"Gout is an extremely painful condition that affects around one in 40 people in the UK. Along with the many thousands of people living with other types of inflammatory arthritis, gout can impact a person's everyday life, from getting out bed in the morning to carrying out basic household chores.

"We hope that future studies can help to further our understanding of the link between inflammatory arthritis and bone fractures."

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