Gout is more prevalent among men than women and it is associated with a higher risk of concomitant comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, and alcohol abuse, according to the findings of a large Swedish study.

Per Wändell, MD, of the Karolinksa Institutet in Huddinge, Sweden, and colleagues examined the prevalence of gout with concomitant diseases in Stockholm County, Sweden, which has a population of 2.1 million people. Overall, the prevalence of gout was 0.28% among women and 0.83% among men, the researchers reported online in Preventive Medicine. The prevalence increased with age, and was nearly twice as high among men than women. Among women, the prevalence among those aged 50–64, 65–74, 75–84, and 85 years or older was 0.26%, 0.81%, 1.64%, and 2.0%, respectively. The prevalence among men in these age groups was 1.39%, 2.72%, 4.20%, and 4.35%, respectively.

The study showed that, compared with individuals who do not have gout, women and men with gout, respectively, had a nearly 4 times and 1.9 times increased risk of diabetes and insulin resistance, 4 times and 3.2 times increased risk of hypertension, 4.7 times and 2.8 times increased risk of chronic heart failure, and 2.0 times and 2.4 times increased risk of chronic kidney disease in age-adjusted analyses. Gout was associated with a 32% and 13% increased risk of malignancies in women and men, respectively. In addition, women and men with gout were 8.9 times and 4.4 times more likely to be alcohol abusers compared with individuals who did not have gout.

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The common concomitant condition among gout sufferers was hypertension, which was present in 68% of women (vs. 12% of women without gout) and 54% of men (vs. 10.5% of men without gout). 

The authors suggest that clinicians “view gout as a warning sign for other relevant concomitant diseases such as alcoholism, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.”