Reducing Body Fat helps to Minimize the Risk of Developing Gout, Especially in Women

October 3, 2022 (Vancouver) — Excess weight and genetics have been linked to an increased risk of gout, according to a recent study conducted by Arthritis Research Canada.

Compared to individuals with Body Mass Index (BMI) in the normal range, men and women who are overweight have an increased risk of developing gout. Obese women were 3-times more likely to develop gout and men were 2.2-times more likely. Additionally, having an above-average genetic risk score increased the risk of developing gout by 60-80%. The study also revealed that the combined effect of being genetically predisposed to gout and being overweight increased the risk more than the sum of these two risk factors individually.

Gout is the most common inflammatory arthritis. The pain is experienced in waves—or “flares”—followed by periods of remission. It causes joint damage and can also cause hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease (CKD), heart attack and stroke.

Previous gout studies have tended to focus on men given that gout had been considered to be a man’s disease). This study intentionally sought to understand the causes for gout amongst women. Using information gathered every 2-4 years from validated questionnaires, researchers assessed the similarities and differences among women participants diagnosed with gout and compared that to a parallel study involving men.

The takeaways from this study were that being overweight and having a higher genetic risk score, increased the likelihood of developing gout. Moreover, the study suggests that obesity actually worsens a person’s genetic predisposition for developing gout and this effect is stronger in women than in men.

According to research team member and Arthritis Research Canada’s Trainee, Natalie McCormick, “this study reinforces the roles of both genetics and environmental factors in the development of gout. You can’t change your genetics but, while not always easy, maintaining a healthy body weight could reduce your chances of being diagnosed with this painful disease down the road, especially for women”

To learn more about this research, please click here. 


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Arthritis Research Canada is the largest clinical arthritis research institution in North America. Our mission is to transform the lives of people living with arthritis through research and engagement. Arthritis Research Canada’s scientific director, Dr. Diane Lacaille is leading a team of over 100 researchers, trainees and staff whose world recognized research is creating a future where people living with arthritis are empowered to triumph over pain and disability. Arthritis Research Canada is conducting research across Canada in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec and is affiliated with five major universities: University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, Université Laval, and McGill University. Arthritis Research Canada is leading research aimed at preventing arthritis, facilitating early diagnosis, finding new and better treatments, and improving quality of life for people with arthritis.


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Heather Caulder
Marketing and Communications Officer
604-207-4010 or hcaulder@arthritisresearch.ca

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