If you’re like many people, you might have put on a few pounds during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to research published in March 2021 by the Journal of the American Medical Association, participants in a study of body weight changes during the 2020 shelter-in-place orders gained a pound and a half each month on average.1 Study authors believe this change most likely was the result of less exercise and more snacking and overeating than usual.1 If you’re reading this and are reminded of your own less-than-healthy pandemic experience, you may be wondering “How does weight affect gout?” and “How do I lose weight with gout?” Read on to find out.
What is gout?
Gout is a kind of arthritis that can cause sudden, excruciatingly painful episodes called gout attacks or gout flares.2 It is caused by excess uric acid in the bloodstream.2 After a while, this excess uric acid can cause sharp, needle-like crystals to form around a joint or in nearby tissue.2 Eventually, these crystals can trigger the intense pain, redness and swelling that can occur during a gout attack.2
What can cause uric acid to build up?
Your body makes uric acid when it breaks down purines, which are compounds found naturally in the body and in certain foods.2 In most people, uric acid dissolves in the bloodstream, passes through the kidneys and leaves the body in the urine.2 For some people, though, the body either produces too much uric acid or the kidneys release too little.2 This buildup of uric acid can cause gout.2
How does weight affect gout?
The more excess weight you have, the less efficient your kidneys are.3 According to the Gout Education Society, an obese person is three times more likely to develop gout than someone who has a normal body weight.4 And the area of the body where a person gains weight matters, too.3 People who have more belly fat are more likely to develop gout—even if they are not technically overweight.3
How can losing weight improve my health?
People who have gout often suffer with other serious health issues including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.3 However, losing weight may help reduce the impact of gout and these other conditions.3,5 Achieving or maintaining a healthy weight can also help ease joint pain, improve function and even slow the progression of arthritis.6
What is the best way to lose weight with gout?
A healthy diet and regular exercise can help you work toward or maintain a healthy weight.4 According to the Gout Education Society, the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet are good models to follow if you are trying to eat healthier.4 Avoid “crash” diets, as rapid or extreme weight loss can cause the uric acid level in the body to rise4 and potentially contribute to flares. As for exercise, do your best to engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.4 (You should never try to exercise during a gout flare, however.7) For people with gout, the Mayo Clinic recommends low-impact activities such as walking, bicycling and swimming.8 And be sure to drink plenty of water—many dietitians recommend that people with gout drink at least 64 ounces of water daily (plus more if they are exercising).4
What if I continue to have gout flares?
If you continue to suffer with flares in spite of your weight-loss efforts, be sure to talk with your doctor. If you are not already taking a urate-lowering therapy (ULT), your doctor may recommend it to help reduce the uric acid level in your body.9 Your doctor may also suggest that you start a colchicine medication such as Mitigare® (Colchicine) 0.6mg Capsules or Generic Colchicine Capsules to help prevent gout attacks.10
Mitigare® is a registered trademark of Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.
Colchicine 0.6mg capsules are contraindicated in patients with renal or hepatic impairment who are currently prescribed drugs that inhibit both P-gp and CYP3A4. Combining these dual inhibitors with colchicine in patients with renal or hepatic impairment has resulted in life-threatening or fatal colchicine toxicity. Patients with both renal and hepatic impairment should not be given Mitigare®.
Fatal overdoses have been reported with colchicine in adults and children. Keep Mitigare® out of the reach of children.
Blood dyscrasias such as myelosuppression, leukopenia, granulocytopenia, thrombocytopenia and aplastic anemia have been reported with colchicine used in therapeutic doses.
Monitor for toxicity and, if present, consider temporary interruption or discontinuation of colchicine.
Drug interaction with dual P-gp and CYP3A4 inhibitors: Co-administration of colchicine with dual P-gp and CYP3A4 inhibitors has resulted in life-threatening interactions and death.
Neuromuscular toxicity and rhabdomyolysis may occur with chronic treatment with colchicine in therapeutic doses, especially in combination with other drugs known to cause this effect. Patients with impaired renal function and elderly patients (including those with normal renal and hepatic function) are at increased risk. Consider temporary interruption or discontinuation of Mitigare®.
The most commonly reported adverse reactions with colchicine are gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
NOTE: This article was not written by a medical professional and is not intended to substitute for the guidance of a physician. These are not Hikma’s recommendations for gout flare prevention, but rather facts and data collected from various reliable medical sources and guidelines. For a full list of resources and their attributing links, see below.