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Obesity, Alcohol Among Factors Linked to Women's Gout Risk

Aging, hypertension also contribute to raised odds of disease, research shows

TUESDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity, high blood pressure and alcohol consumption are among the major risk factors for gout in women, a new study finds.

Gout, a common and painful inflammatory arthritis, is caused by elevated uric acids levels in the blood.

U.S. researchers analyzed data from 2,476 women and 1,951 men who took part in the Framingham Heart Study. The participants were in their mid-40s and free of gout at the start of the study.

After a median follow-up of 28 years, there were 104 gout cases in women and 200 in men. The gout incidence per 1,000 person-years was 1.4 in women and 4.0 in men, the researchers noted. Women with serum uric acid levels over 5 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) had a significantly lower risk of developing gout than men with uric acid levels over 5 mg/dL.

Risk factors independently associated with higher risk of gout in women were: increasing age, obesity, alcohol consumption, diuretic use and hypertension, according to the report published in the April issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

"Our study found that higher levels of uric acid in the blood increase the gout risk for women in a graded manner," study team leader Dr. Hyon Choi, of Boston University School of Medicine, said in a news release.

Women with serum uric acid levels greater than 8 mg/dL had a 46-fold increased risk of gout compared to those with levels less than 5 mg/dL. However, the magnitude of the association between uric acid levels and gout among women was significantly lower than for men, the researchers noted.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about gout.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Arthritis & Rheumatism, news release, March 30, 2010

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