Gout typically affects more men than women; a lot more.
In fact, women make up only 5.1 percent of American gout sufferers, and any time a researcher stumbles across a difference of that magnitude, it makes them wonder what caused it.
In this case they wondered if there were different risk factors at play for men and women.
They conducted their research and published their results in the journal Advances in Rheumatology.
Digging through the largest medical journal databases turned up 33 articles, 20 of which compared the risk factors for men and women directly. A further 10 used only males as subjects and three used only women.
The most commonly identified risk factors found in the literature were things like age, ethnicity, the DASH diet (used to prevent high blood pressure), the metabolic syndrome and diabetes, body mass index, waist and chest circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, weight changes, cholesterol and blood fats, high blood pressure, renal disease, psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, the use of diuretics or antidiabetic drugs, and the consumption of various foods and beverages like alcohol, coffee, meat, seafood, dairy, fructose, asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, mushrooms, and other purine-rich vegetables.
In general, the scientists found that the risk factors did not differ between men and women, with only two exceptions:
1. Men were more likely than women were to develop gout as a result of the metabolic syndrome.
2. Women were more likely than men were to develop gout after consuming fish and shellfish.
This may partly answer the question as to why more men than women have gout.
Thanks to all the unhealthy foods we have access to these days and a general lack of exercise, the metabolic syndrome is widespread and becoming more so all the time. So, preventing it will certainly help.
In general, the risk factors from the literature included:
1. Older age.
2. The fact that gout is more common in African than in Caucasian Americans.
3. High fructose and sugar consumption promote gout.
4. Heavy alcohol consumption.
5. The metabolic syndrome in men, and a weak risk associated with diabetes, but also mostly for men.
6. High body-mass index.
7. High waist-to-hip ratio.
8. Weight changes.
9. A weak risk associated with high cholesterol or blood fats, but mostly in postmenopausal women.
10. Renal insufficiency or failure.
11. High blood pressure.
12. Psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.
13. Diuretic use.
From this review, coffee seems to be a protective factor against gout.
The sources from which you acquire your proteins don’t seem to be a risk or protective factor, except for fish and shellfish in women. Neither, surprisingly, is high waist and chest circumference.
So, to avoid gout, adopt a lifestyle that protects you against the metabolic syndrome (especially if you’re male) and take the other risk factors seriously too.