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Higher Gout Prevalence With Growth in Obesity and Hypertension

Higher Gout Prevalence With Growth in Obesity and Hypertension

The prevalence of gout in the United States has risen over the past 20 years and now affects 8.3 million Americans, or 4% of the population, according to a study reported in a recent issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, an American College of Rheumatology (ACR) publication. Higher frequencies of obesity and hypertension in recent years may be contributing factors. The prevalence of hyperuricemia also increased, affecting 43.3 million American adults.

Researchers compared data from the latest US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) (2007 and 2008) with those from previous NHANES surveys (1988 to 1994). The survey included questions about a history of gout with a diagnosis made by a health care professional; there were 5707 participants. Hyperuricemia was defined as a serum urate level higher than 7.0 mg/dL in men and 5.7 mg/dL in women.

The frequencies of gout and hyperuricemia were 1% and 3% higher, respectively, in the current NHANES report than in the earlier one, although the differences in prevalence rates were substantially lessened after adjusting for obesity or hypertension. Gout prevalence was higher in men (6%) than in women (2%); hyperuricemia occurred in 21.2% of men and 21.6% of women.

The researchers concluded that the prevalences of gout and hyperuricemia continue to be substantial in the US adult population. They suggested that improvements in management of modifiable risk factors, such as obesity and hypertension, could help prevent further escalation of gout and hyperuricemia in Americans.

For more information about gout and other rheumatologic conditions, visit the ACR Web site at Or, contact the organization at American College of Rheumatology, 2200 Lake Boulevard NE, Atlanta, GA 30319; telephone: (404) 633-3777; fax: (404) 633-1870.

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