Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Arthritis Health Center

Font Size

High Uric Acid Linked to Both Gout and Diabetes

Study Shows People With High Uric Acid Levels May Have Higher Risk for Diabetes
WebMD Health News

Nov. 11, 2011 (Chicago) -- People with gout should make sure their uric acid levels are under control -- even if they're not experiencing symptoms of the painful arthritic disorder.

"Many people are walking around with uncontrolled uric acid levels and we used to not worry about it -- if they're not having symptoms, who cares?" says Eric Matteson, MD, MPH, head of rheumatology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

But new studies show that high uric acid levels in the blood are associated with a nearly 20% increased risk of developing diabetes and a more than 40% increased risk of developing kidney disease.

Uric acid is a chemical substance that can build up in the blood to a higher than normal level and lead to gout.

High Uric Acid and Diabetes

For the new studies, researchers reviewed the records of about 2,000 men with gout in a Veterans Administration database. None had diabetes or kidney disease at the start of the study.

Eswar Krishnan, MD, assistant professor of rheumatology at Stanford University, presented the findings here at the American College of Rheumatology's annual meeting. Krishnan consults for Takeda Pharmaceuticals International, which makes a gout medication and funded the study.

Over a three-year period, 9% of men with gout who had uncontrolled uric acid levels developed diabetes, compared with 6% of those whose uric levels were under control.

After taking into account other risk factors for diabetes, this corresponded to a 19% higher risk of diabetes in those with uncontrolled uric acid levels.

A blood uric acid level greater than 7 is considered uncontrolled.

Risk of Diabetes and Kidney Disease

The risk for an individual person might not be much. But the National Institutes of Health estimates that 6 million U.S. adults have had gout at some point in their lives, many with uncontrolled uric acid levels. That translates to tens of thousands of people at risk of diabetes and kidney disease, Matteson says.

A second study, conducted by the same researchers using the same database, showed that over a three-year period men with gout who had uncontrolled uric acid levels had a 40% greater risk of kidney disease compared to men with controlled uric acid levels.

Today on WebMD

Mature woman exercise at home
Hint: Warming up first is crucial.
feet with gout
Quiz yourself.
woman in pain
One idea? Eat fish to curb inflammation.
senior couple walking
Can you keep your RA from progressing?
xray of knees with osteoarthritis
close up of man wearing dress shoes
feet with gout
close up of red shoe in shoebox
two male hands
Woman massaging her neck
5 Lupus Risk Factors