Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects the joints in the large toe and foot. It is caused by a build-up of uric acid that’s formed by high levels of purines, which can come from an unhealthy diet. An attack can lead to severe pain, swelling, and redness of the toe area. New research highlights that living with gout may also raise your risk of heart disease.
It is estimated that around four percent of the American population lives with gout. Gout is already linked with a higher risk of kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, and sleep apnea.
For the recent findings, researchers at Duke University looked at data from over 17,000 patients, 1,406 already with gout, who was being treated for cardiovascular disease risk factors.
After an average 6.4-year follow-up, gout was still highly linked with worsened outcomes and even death related to heart disease despite aggressive medical therapy.
Lead author of the study Dr. Neha Pagidipati explained, “Among patients who had gout at the beginning of the study or who developed it during follow-up, their risk of either dying of cardiovascular disease or having a heart attack or stroke was 15 percent higher than patients who never developed gout.”
Gout patients had a twofold greater risk of heart disease compared to individuals without gout.
Pagidipati added, “Also, from a physician’s perspective, it’s important to consider that patients with gout may be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease even if they’re already treating them with all the standard therapies. It’s something to have on their radar.”
It is yet to be determined the exact link between gout and heart disease but the researchers speculate it may be related to inflammation.
The study helps not only to bring greater awareness to gout but shed light that it’s not merely a condition that affects the joints – your heart is at risk too.
It’s important that you always adhere to heart-healthy practices such as eating well and exercise as this not only protects the heart, but it may offer better management of gout as well.
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