If you’ve been diagnosed with gout, chances are you’ve been advised to cut down on foods that produce uric acid, including red meat and alcohol.
Although this is not bad advice, if only tells part of the lifestyle story.
According to a new study in The Journal Arthritis & Rheumatology, gout is caused by a handful of common lifestyle conditions that are completely within our grasp to manage—and with that, reverse gout!
Metabolic syndrome is a collection of conditions that together increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. These include high blood pressure, high blood fats (triglycerides), low HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), high blood sugar, and storage of abdominal fat.
If this condition puts you at risk of heart disease and diabetes, does it perhaps also increase your risk of gout? This is the question a team of South Korean researchers wanted to answer.
To investigate, they mined data from a large nationwide population study that included 1,293,166 male subjects between ages 20 and 39. They all underwent periodic medical checkups.
During the study period, 18,473 were diagnosed with gout. The researchers made lists of those who were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome and of those who were diagnosed and then recovered.
These are the findings yielded by an examination of their health data.
1. Those who had chronic metabolic syndrome, which they defined as a positive diagnosis at all medical checkups, were almost four times more likely to have gout than those without metabolic syndrome.
2. Those who developed metabolic syndrome during the study period had double the risk of gout compared to those without metabolic syndrome.
3. Those who recovered from metabolic syndrome during the study period reduced their risk of gout by 48%.
4. High triglycerides alone increased the risk of gout by 74%, while a drop in triglycerides to normal levels reduced the risk by 44%.
5. Abdominal obesity alone increased gout risk by 94%, and reducing weight to normal levels reduced it by 31%.
6. The relationship between metabolic syndrome and gout was stronger in men during their 20s than during their 30s.
7. The relationship between these conditions was stronger in people who were underweight or of normal weight.
This study shows that metabolic syndrome is a strong risk factor for gout. It also shows that recovery from metabolic syndrome can reduce our gout risk.
Luckily, all the conditions that contribute to metabolic syndrome are under our control. Since abdominal obesity and high triglycerides are the strongest individual health risks, you can start by tackling those.