Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine found that women with serum uric acid levels over 5 mg/dl had a significantly lower risk of developing gout than men. This study, the first to examine the relationship between uric acid levels and gout risk in women, also evaluated purported risk factors for gout and found that increasing age, obesity, hypertension, alcohol use, and diuretic use to be among leading contributors for women.
The research team led by Hyon Choi, M.D., D.Ph., analysed data from the Framingham Heart Study for 2,476 women and 1,951 men who had a complete follow-up history and who were free of gout at baseline. The mean age at baseline was 47 years for women and 46 years for men. Researchers evaluated serum uric acid levels and risk factors for gout that included: age, body mass index (BMI), alcohol consumption, hypertension medication use (diuretics, hormone replacement therapy), blood glucose and cholestrol levels, and menopause status. At baseline the mean serum uric acid level was 4.0 mg/dl for women and 5.1 mg/dl for men. 104 gout cases in women and 200 in men were identified over the 28-year median follow-up period. The gout incidence per 1,000 person-years was 1,4 in women and 4.0 in men.
Results showed that the incidence rates of gout for women per 1,000 person-years according to serum uric acid levels of < 5.0, 5- 5.9, 6.0 - 6.9, 7.0–7.9, and 8.0 mg/dl were 0.8, 2.5, 4.2, 13.1, and 27.3, respectively. The study also found among the purported risk factors for gout, increasing age, obesity, alcohol consumption, diuretic use, and hypertension were independently associated with higher risk of gout incidence in women. However, researchers found only a stronger age effect among women placed them at higher risk factors for gout than men. The age-adjusted relative risk (RR) of gout in post-menopausal women was 4.18 and the RR for gout in women using hormone replacement therapy was 0.24. Other risk factors did not differ significantly between women and men.
Source: Epidemiology of Gout in Women: 52-Year Followup of a Prospective Cohort. Vidula Bhole, Mary de Vera, M. Mushfiqur Rahman, Eswar Krishnan, and Hyon Choi. Arthritis & Rheumatism; Published Online: March 30, 2010 (DOI: 10.1002/art.27338); Print Issue Date: April 2010.