Accompanying Conditions to Gout

Monday 22 February 2021
Gout

Table of Contents


I. Uric Acid and the Body

II. Chronic Kidney Disease

III. Heart Disease and Stroke

IV. Diabetes

V. Depression

VI. Sleep Apnea


Uric Acid and the Body

The cause of gout is an overproduction of uric acid in the body. When uric acid builds up, it forms crystals around your joints that can cause mild to severe pain. Uric acid is a waste by-product that is meant to be expelled from your body. But if your body isn’t able to efficiently eliminate uric acid, more diseases may begin to occur.

Medications like colchicineZyloprim (allopurinol)indomethacin, or indomethacin suppositories are available to treat symptoms of gout. Because gout can indicate high uric levels that put you at risk of kidney, heart, and blood sugar problems, you may want to ask your doctor about accompanying diseases if you have gout. Read on to learn more about these accompanying diseases. [1] 

a heart cut from construction paper

Chronic Kidney Disease

Uric acid can form crystals around your joints, but it can also form crystals in your kidneys. When this occurs, complications may range from reduced kidney function to kidney failure. One study reported that people with gout are almost 80 percent likelier to get moderate kidney disease than people without gout. [2] Kidney damage is progressive, but the right treatment plan may be able to slow it down.

Uric acid can also form crystals that block the urinary tract and cause kidney stones. It is estimated that kidney stones affect 20 percent of people with gout. [2] Essentially, the higher uric acid level you have, the more likely you are to develop kidney stones. It just so happens that uric acid causes both gout and kidney problems.

Heart Disease and Stroke

It is still unclear why, but gout is known to be linked with many types of cardiovascular diseases. One study found evidence that adults over 65 who have gout are twice as likely to experience a heart attack than people without gout. Other cardiovascular diseases linked to gout include heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and an irregular heartbeat. Having gout also increases your risk of a stroke. [2]

The theory is that uric acid crystal build-up throughout the entire body can cause inflammation and damage to the blood vessels. There are likely several other factors that explain why gout and heart disease are interlinked, but more research is needed to find conclusive evidence. 

Diabetes

Diabetes and gout share common risk factors (like being overweight or having high cholesterol and blood pressure), which may be why people with gout are more at risk of developing diabetes. Being overweight may cause your body to create more insulin and expel less uric acid, increasing the risk of both conditions. [3] Statistics show that women with gout are roughly 70 percent more at risk of developing diabetes than women without gout. For men, gout increases your chances of diabetes by around 25 percent. [2]

Depression 

Body-wide inflammation from high levels of uric acid may increase your risk of depression. A 2018 study found substantial evidence of depression among patients with gout. Researchers concluded that patients with gout are almost 10 percent more at risk of depression than those without gout. [4]

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In another nationwide study, researchers found that younger people, men, and those who are not taking anti-gout medications are at an increased risk of depressive disorders. [5] Talk to your doctor about how gout is linked with depression if you experience any changes in mood during your treatment.

Sleep Apnea

Gout and sleep apnea share many similarities. They both increase the risk of developing health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. [2] Gout and sleep apnea have been known to cause each other as well. A recent study showed that gout can double your risk of obstructive sleep apnea, and conversely, having sleep apnea can significantly increase your risk of gout. [2]

lights from the window indicating another sleepless night

It is believed that the link between these two conditions is insufficient oxygen. Sleep apnea causes a person to experience periods of low oxygen levels, and this can lead to an overproduction of uric acid. [6] If you have sleep apnea, proper treatment should inadvertently lower your uric acid levels and reduce your risk of gout.

Gout pain should be a warning sign that your body is not processing and expelling uric acid efficiently. This may be a cause for concern because high uric acid levels can lead to a number of other health conditions. While medications like colchicineZyloprim (allopurinol)indomethacin, and indomethacin suppositories may prevent gout attacks and help with gout pain, it is important to talk to your doctor about preventing accompanying conditions to gout as well.

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.