Left untreated, gouty arthritis can progress and lead to permanent bone, joint and tissue damage. Untreated gout can even lead to deformities – particularly to the hands and feet – and lead to loss of normal use.
Gouty arthritis has also been connected with several other serious health issues – including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and renal disease – making prompt and ongoing treatment critical. Hyperuricemia may also be a marker for metabolic syndrome. These conditions should be taken into consideration before prescribing uric acid-lowering therapies to ensure the best possible patient outcome.
An obese person is four times more likely to develop gout compared to someone with a normal body weight.
Preliminary research suggests that insulin resistance may play a role in the development of gout – and that hyperuricemia may worsen insulin resistance. Controlling blood sugar will help diabetic patients manage their uric acid level and make their gout easier to control. Poor blood circulation in the limbs may cause a buildup of uric acid in the joints that may contribute to diabetes in gout patients.
Additional information about gout and diabetes can be found here. An educational brochure is also available to share with patients.
Hyperuricemia is associated with a higher risk of death and complications from cardiovascular disease. Recent research from the University of Oxford has shown that having gout doubles a person’s risk for heart attack and stroke. Additional research published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases has shown that women with gout are 3.5 times as likely to have a myocardial infarction as men.
Renal insufficiency is a well-known cause of hyperuricemia. One in five people with gout will develop kidney stones. For patients with kidney disease, it is important to monitor their kidney function throughout the treatment phase, as it affects urea levels.