Being obese, gaining weight since young adulthood, high blood pressure and taking a diuretic “water pill’ are all linked to an increased likelihood of developing gout, according to a new study, but losing weight decreases the risk.
Dr. Hyon K. Choi, at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and his colleagues evaluated risk factors and the occurrence of gout among 47,150 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. They were interviewed first in 1986, at ages ranging from 40 to 75 years. By 1998, there were 730 newly diagnosed cases of gout.After adjusting for starting weight and other risk factors, men who lost 10 pounds or more since 1986 had a 39 percent lower risk of gout compared with those who had maintained their weight.”To our knowledge, our study is the first to document this important potential benefit of weight loss,” the investigators note in the Archives of Internal Medicine.Compared with subjects with a low-normal weight, the risk of gout increased in step with increasing weight. In subjects considered obese, the risk of gout was 4.41 times higher.The researchers estimated that the risk of developing gout was 2.31 among men with high blood pressure compared to those with normal blood pressure, and 1.77 higher among those taking a diuretic.”Our findings are most directly generalizable to men 40 years and older (the most gout-prevalent population) with no history of gout,” Choi’s team concludes.(Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, Reuters Health, April, 2005.)