For men at risk for heart disease, having an arthritic condition called gout may further boost their odds of dying from heart problems.
In this new study, 9,100 middle-aged men at high risk for heart disease were followed for over 17 years to determine if the incidence of gout was related to mortality due to heart disease. Risk factors for heart disease include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, and type 2 diabetes.
Among the men at risk for heart disease, researchers found that those with gout were one-third more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke compared to their peers without gout.
Gout is a painful form of arthritis that occurs when uric acid crystals build up in the joints. The body produces uric acid as a natural byproduct when it breaks down purines, compounds found in certain foods such as meat, seafood and alcoholic beverages. Diet strategies to control gout often involve limiting intake of purine-rich foods.
Previous research has linked build up of uric acid in the body to a higher risk of heart attack and angina (chest pain caused by insufficient blood flow to the heart).
The current findings should give men with gout extra incentive to address heart disease risk factors such as, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or excess body weight , by seeking dietary advice to improve their heart disease risk.
This study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
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