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Arthritis Health Center

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Beer, Spirits Increase Gout Risk

But Wine May Be OK, Researcher Says
WebMD Health News

April 15, 2004 -- For centuries, gout has been known as the "disease of kings" because overindulging in rich food and drink is a major cause of the painful joint condition. But it now appears that when it comes to alcohol, the biggest culprit is the beverage long favored by the common man.

In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that as few as two to four beers a week increased the risk of gout by 25%. But men who drank at least two beers a day were more than 200% as likely to develop gout as non-beer drinkers. And the more beer they drank, the more likely they were to suffer an attack of gout.

Liquor drinkers also suffered a gouty fate, though not as severely. As little as one liquor drink a month increased the risk, but the chance of gout jumped 60% with two or more liquor drinks a day.

No increase in risk was seen among wine drinkers.

While there had been some suggestion that beer drinkers may be more at risk than imbibers of alcohol in other forms, lead researcher Hyon K. Choi, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, says the strength of the difference was a surprise.

"It certainly suggests that individuals with gout should try to limit or even cut out their beer consumption, whereas wine may be allowed, given other health benefits associated with moderate alcohol consumption," he says.

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