Gout Prevalence Is On The Rise Around The World, According to Study

A study of the prevalence of gout across the globe found that the burden of the inflammatory disease is on the rise.

“The increasing trend of gout burden is most likely to continue as the global aging population is on the rise,” said senior author Emma Smith, PhD, of The University of Sydney, Australia, in a press release. “Attempts to lessen the disease onset and future burden of gout require better awareness, especially of risk factors, and early diagnosis and treatment.”

Dr. Smith and her fellow authors collected data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2017. Global-, regional-, and national-level estimates for gout were assessed for the period spanning 1990 through 2017 by the GBD Team at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in conjunction with researchers and experts around the world.

An estimated 41.2 million prevalent cases of gout were identified around the world; there were an estimated 7.4 million incident cases per year and close to 1.3 million years lived with disability (YLDs) in 2017.

“The global age‐standardised point prevalence estimates and annual incidence rates in 2017 were 510.6 (95% [uncertainty interval] UI: 455.6 to 570.3) and 91.8 (95% UI: 81.3 to 104.1) per 100,000, an increase of 7.2% (95% UI: 6.4 to 8.1) and 5.5% (95% UI: 4.8 to 6.3) from 1990, respectively,” the study authors reported. “The corresponding age‐standardised YLD rate was 15.9 (95% UI: 10.7 to 21.8) per 100,000, a 7.2% (95% UI: 5.9 to 8.6) increase since 1990.”

Increased prevalence estimates were observed for males and older age groups; in 2017, increases with age were observed for males and females. Developed regions and countries had the highest burden of gout. In 2017, the top three countries with the highest age-standardized point prevalence estimates of gout were New Zealand (1,394.0), Australia (1,171.4), and the United States (996.0); the top three countries with the highest increases in age-standardized point prevalence estimates of gout over the study period were the United States (34.7%), Canada (28.5%), and Oman (28.0%). When looking at all countries examined, body mass index comprised about a third (32.4%) of YLDs due to gout in 2017, while impaired kidney function accounted for about 15.3%, with higher YLDs observed in males for both of these risk factors.

The results were published in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

“Besides improving the clinical management of disease, prevention and health promotion in communities to provide basic knowledge of the disease, its risk factors, consequences, and effective treatment options, with tailoring to high risk group such as the middle‐aged male population, are crucial to avoid the disease onset, and hence, to decrease the global disease burden,” the researchers wrote in their conclusion.