Friday, October 12, 2018
Genetics Indicate Higher Risk Factor for Gout than the Previously Thought Diet
In this research study conducted by Major, Topless, Daleth and Merriman, diet and genetics were evaluated as risk factors for gout and their association with serum rate levels. Gout is a common disease that can lead to intense pain in joints, mostly seen on the outside of the big toe. Gout is caused by an accumulation of urate crystals in the joints, which occurs when high levels of uric acid develops in the blood. Many believe this accumulation is primarily due to diet, where certain food and beverages stimulate an increase in uric acid. However, in the study performed by Major et al., they found that genetics had a higher rate of variance in serum urate levels than certain trigger foods did, 23.9% compared to <1%.
The researchers obtained those percentages by analyzing the diet and genome of close to 17,000 individuals (equal parts male and female), while measuring their serum rate levels along the way. Participants were required to be eighteen years of age, and have no history of gout.
With these results, the researchers hope to dispel the common misconception that gout is caused primarily by diet, which the they believe is a primary reason why patients are uncomfortable talking with their physicians about it. With this hanging stigma that gout is the fault of the patient, many affected people don't seek treatment, which is a shame due to the highly painful nature of the condition. Although these findings hold contrary to popular belief, professionals still advise the consumption of a healthy diet to further decrease risks.
Personally, I am not affected by gout and neither my family, however, reading about the symptoms of the condition I can get a sense of how severe gout can be. Knowing that there is a stigma about gout patients, and how this discourages seeking of treatment is truly unfortunate. Although gout can be really painful, and that treatment is manageable with serum rate lowering drugs, I find it disheartening that affected people are willing to risk going untreated so they won't be judged by their physician. I hope in light of this study, patients with gout can be seen in a new perspective and that patients are willing to seek treatment to alleviate this condition.
(on gout drug)