A recent study has suggested that the rising prevalence of gout, which now reportedly affects 4 percent of Americans, “may be associated” with greater frequency of obesity and hypertension. Yanyan Zhu, et al., “Prevalence of Gout and Hyperuricemia in the US General Population,” Arthritis & Rheumatism, July 28, 2011. Researchers compared data from 5,707 participants in the 2007- 2008 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to NHANES data from 1988-1994. The latest survey also asked participants about their history of gout as diagnosed by a health care professional, with hyperuricemia or elevated uric acid levels defined as a serum urate level greater than 7.0 mg/dL in men and 5.7 mg/dL in women.

According to a Boston University Medical Campus press release, when compared to earlier NHANES data, the prevalence of gout and hyperuricemia “was 1% and 3% higher, respectively.” In addition, “further analysis revealed that gout prevalence was higher in men (6%) compared to women (2%),” while “hyperuricemia occurred in 21.2% of men and 21.6% of women.”  

Lead author Hyon Choi said that gout and hyperuricemia continue to be “substantial” in the U.S. adult population. “Improvements in managing modifiable risk factors, such as obesity and hypertension, could help prevent further escalation of gout and hyperuricemia among Americans,” he was quoted as saying. See Boston University Medical Campus Press Release, July 29, 2011.