Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that the incidence of gout and hyperuricemia (high uric acid levels) in the U.S. has risen significantly over the last 20 years and is associated with major medical disorders like hypertension and chronic kidney disease. The study, which is published in the American Journal of Medicine, was led by Hyon Choi, MD, DrPH, professor of medicine in the section of rheumatology and the clinical epidemiology unit at BUSM and rheumatologist at Boston Medical Center (BMC).
Gout is a common inflammatory arthritis triggered by crystallization of uric acid within the joints, causing severe pain and swelling.
Using data from the latest U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted in 2007 and 2008, which included data from 5,707 participants, the researchers found that gout now affects 8.3 million Americans, or four percent of the population. They also found that hyperuricemia affects 43.3 million U.S. adults, or 21 percent of the population.
The study results demonstrated that participants with gout have remarkably high rates of hypertension (74 percent) and chronic kidney disease (71 percent). More than half of this patient population was obese (53 percent) and a significant number had diabetes (26 percent) and kidney stones (24 percent). These participants also showed high rates of heart attack (14 percent), heart failure (11 percent) and stroke (10 percent).