Gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis, affects more than 8 million people in the US.1 Gout can eventually cause permanent damage to bones and joints of adults if left unmanaged.2 In addition, the risk factors for gout can impact the cardiovascular system.3 Read on to find out about the potential correlation between gout risk factors and heart disease and talk to your doctor about how it might impact you.
Know the risk factors
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide3 and the number one cause of death in the US4. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 600,000 people in the US die of heart disease each year, or one out of every four deaths.4 Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.4
Risk factors for heart disease include:
- Metabolic syndrome (a combination of health problems that can include diabetes, abnormal or high blood cholesterol and obesity, among others)5
- Diabetes or prediabetes6
- High blood pressure (hypertension)6
- Abnormal or high cholesterol (dyslipidemia)6
- Being overweight or obese4
- Being physically inactive4
- Family history of early heart disease6
- History of preeclampsia (a pregnancy complication; the main symptoms are high blood pressure, protein in the urine and swollen hands and feet)6
- Excessive alcohol use4
- Unhealthy diet6
- Age (55 or older for women)6
- Ethnicity (non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks and American Indians)7
High blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking are considered key risk factors for heart disease.4 Nearly half of Americans have at least one of these three risk factors.4
Understand the potential connection between a high uric acid level and heart disease
According to a 2015 editorial written for the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases by Jasvinder A Singh, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology at the UAB School of Medicine in Birmingham, Alabama, “considerable data show an increased risk of cardiac disease in patients with gout, above and beyond that contributed by the traditional risk factors for heart disease.”3
In his review of data from the Framingham Offspring Study (FOS) of nearly 5,000 American adults, Dr. Eswar Krishnan found that participants who had gout were two to three times more likely to suffer with clinical heart failure than those who did not have gout.8 Dr. Krishnan’s review also revealed that the risk of death was higher in heart failure patients who had gout than in heart failure patients who did not have gout.8
Data from many other studies and reviews add to the growing body of evidence that gout may impact the cardiovascular system.9,10 However, additional research is needed to further clarify the relationship between gout and heart disease.
Manage your gout
If you have gout, ask your doctor about treatment regimens for adults that may help prevent gout flares. You should also talk to your doctor about how to best manage the risk factors for heart disease that you can control. You may not be able change your family history, but you can make an effort to eat more healthfully, get more exercise and (if you smoke) quit smoking.
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. For a full list of resources and their attributing links, see below.