High Blood Pressure, BMI, Alcohol Consumption Account for 65% of Gout Cases

The burden of gout, a common form of inflammatory arthritis caused by an excess and deposition of monosodium urate crystals in the joints, has increased globally. When gout is left untreated, recurrent flares consist of severe pain, redness, and swelling in the joints. Many diagnoses of gout are caused by modifiable risk factors such as diet, weight, comorbidities (eg, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease), family history, age, and sex.

The evidence available for gout incidence attributable to the known risk factors in US adults is still being explored. However, a study published in Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism found that hypertension, increased body mass index (BMI), and high levels of alcohol consumption accounted for approximately 65% of gout incidence in US adults.

Utilizing the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers estimated the exposure rate of gout risk factors. Additionally, a meta-analysis was conducted to evaluate the associations of these modifiable risk factors and gout in the US population. Population attributable fraction (PAF) was calculated based on the prevalence of risk factors and relative risk from the meta-analysis.

The prevalence of hypertension in NHANES participants with gout was 14.37%. The average BMI was 28.50 kg/m2, and the average alcohol consumption was 7.14 g/day. Meta-analysis also revealed that individuals with hypertension had a higher risk of gout. “For every five units of increase in BMI, the risk of gout increased by 1.48-fold,” the researchers wrote.

The relative risk of gout was 1.21 for every 10 g/day increment of alcohol consumption. Meanwhile, BMI, hypertension, and alcohol consumption accounted for 53.58%, 13.85%, and 12.66% of gout cases, respectively.

“We estimate that 65.05% of gout (652,881 cases) can be attributed to the combined effects of hypertension, BMI and alcohol consumption, especially BMI, and the robustness of PAF with respect to different lag-time was confirmed by sensitivity analysis. Reducing or avoiding exposure to these risk factors through effective public health interventions can effectively reduce gout incidence in the US population,” the researchers concluded.