Gout Boosts Heart Attack Risk
26% More Heart Attacks in Men With Gout, Regardless of Drinking or Weight
Aug. 15, 2006 -- Gout ups a man's risk of heart
attack, even if he doesn't drink, isn't obese, and doesn't have diabetes.
The finding comes from 6.5 years of data collected on a nationwide sample of
nearly 13,000 U.S. men. It helps solve a medical mystery.
The stereotype of a gout sufferer is a middle-aged man who drinks too much,
has high blood pressure, diabetes, and high levels of
fats in his blood. All of these things increase one's risk of heart attack.
While doctors have suspected that gout itself is a risk factor, it's been hard
to tell whether this is so.
Now Eswar Krishnan, MD, MPH, of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues
find that even when one controls for other risks, gout still emerges as a risk
factor for heart attack.
True, Krishnan and colleagues note, gout adds only 26% to a man's risk of
heart attack. This isn't a huge increase. But it's as big a factor as many
other established heart attack risks.
"Gout was the third largest [risk factor] after smoking and family
history" of heart attack, Krishnan and colleagues report.
And as the stereotype suggests, a person with gout usually has other heart
attack risk factors.
Gout is a kind of arthritis. It's caused by uric acid in the blood
which deposit as crystals in the joints and set off the body's inflammatory
immune response. Inflammation is part of a process that results in blood clots
that can cause heart attack and stroke.
Krishnan and colleagues report their findings in the August 2006 issue of
the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.