Gout Prevalence Swells In US Over Last Two Decades

A new study shows the prevalence of gout in the US has risen over the last 20 years and now affects 8.3 million (4%) Americans.

A new study shows the prevalence of gout in the US has risen over the last 20 years and now affects 8.3 million (4%) Americans. Prevalence of hyperuricemia also rose, affecting 43.3 million (21%) adults in the US. Greater frequency of obesity and hypertension may be associated with the jump in prevalence rates, according to the findings now available in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Medical evidence suggests that gout is strongly associated with metabolic syndrome and may lead to heart attack, diabetes, and premature death. Prior research found that gout incidence in the US more than doubled from the 1960s to 1990s.

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“Our study aim was to determine if the prevalence of gout and hyperuricemia among US adults has continued to climb in the new millennium,” Hyon Choi, MD, professor in the Section of Rheumatology and the Clinical Epidemiology Unit at Boston University School of Medicine, said in a

Researchers analyzed data from the latest National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which was conducted in 2007 and 2008. Choi, the senior investigator of the present study, and his colleagues compared the data with those from previous NHANES surveys (1988-1994).

There were 5,707 participants who completed the most recent NHANES survey, which included questions regarding history of gout diagnosed by a health care professional. Researchers defined hyperuricemia as serum urate level greater than 7.0 mg/dL in men and 5.7 mg/dL in women.

“Results from the nationally-representative sample of adult Americans suggest gout and hyperuricemia remain prevalent in the US and, compared to earlier NHANES data, was 1% and 3% higher, respectively. After adjusting for obesity or hypertension, the differences in prevalence rates were substantially lessened,” according to the statement. Further analysis revealed that gout prevalence was higher in men (6%) compared to women (2%); hyperuricemia occurred in 21.2% of men and 21.6% of women.

“We found that the prevalences of gout and hyperuricemia continue to be substantial in the US adult population,” Choi said. “Improvements in managing modifiable risk factors, such as obesity and hypertension, could help prevent further escalation of gout and hyperuricemia among Americans.”

SourcePrevalence of Gout and Hyperuricemia in the US General Population [Arthritis & Rheumatism]