Gout Patients May Have Higher Diabetes Risk

Type 2 diabetes association with gout was more pronounced in women than men

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Having gout has been tied to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. And one gender might be at higher risk than the other.

A research team from Harvard University and Boston University studied the risk of diabetes in men and women with gout.

The researchers found that both men and women with gout were at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Women, they found, were at a significantly higher risk than men.

Gout is a type of arthritis caused when uric acid builds up in the joints. Uric acid is always present in the body from normal metabolic processes. In the case of gout, uric acid is present in abnormally high amounts.

Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, Medical Advisory Board Member of the non-profit Nutritional Magnesium Association, explained that gout has been linked to a number of factors. Such factors include eating foods that can be broken down into uric acid, such as meats and seafood, being overweight or obese, being over 40, drinking alcohol, having a family history of gout, eating sugary foods and having an organ transplant.

"The triggers for gout are also what cause magnesium deficiency: high protein diet, alcohol, sugar. And the associated conditions — high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes — are magnesium deficiency diseases," Dr. Dean told dailyRx News.

Hyon Choi, MD, from the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, was the lead author of this study.

Dr. Choi and team studied the risk of diabetes in gout patients because diabetes can lead to serious complications and even early death. For this reason, the authors explained, understanding diabetes risk in those with gout is important.

The researchers searched an electronic database of health records to find people with gout. They noted their gender, weight, drinking patterns and whether they had diabetes.

They compared 35,339 cases of gout with 137,056 people who did not have gout.

The research team found that more men than women had gout. Of those with gout, the men drank more than the women. Women with gout were older than the men with gout.

The rate of diabetes was significantly higher in women than men. The women with gout were 71 percent more likely to get diabetes than women without gout.

Men with gout were 22 percent more likely to get diabetes than men without gout.

The research did not address why women with gout were at increased risk of diabetes compared to men or why diabetes risk was increased in people with gout.

One limitation of the study was that some factors known to be associated with diabetes were not considered in the study. These factors include a sugary diet, lack of physical activity and family history of diabetes.

This study was published October 2 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Funding for research was provided by the National Institutes of Health. The authors declared no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
October 1, 2014
Last Updated:
October 8, 2014