In a new study, researchers found patients with gout are at increased risk of chronic kidney disease and kidney failure.
It is one of the largest and most detailed studies ever conducted.
The research was led by a team from the University of Limerick (UL), Ireland.
The team used data from more than 620,000 patients in the UK health system.
The data were from the Clinical Research Practice Data Datalink (CPRD), a research database that collects clinical information on patients attending primary care centers from across the UK.
In their analysis, researchers checked the risk of advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) in 68,897 gout patients followed for an average of 3.7 years and compared them to 554,964 patients without gout.
They defined advanced kidney disease based on four specific criteria; the need for dialysis or kidney transplant; failing kidney function to less than 10% of normal; doubling of serum creatinine from baseline, and death associated with CKD.
They found patients recruited in general practice with a diagnosis of gout were more than twice as likely to develop kidney failure than those without gout.
The patients who suffered from gout had a 29% higher risk of advanced CKD compared to those without gout.
In addition, gouts patients had more than a 200% higher risk of kidney failure than those without gout.
Gout patients were also more likely to suffer a short-term deterioration in kidney function, as well as a sustained deterioration of function to less than 10% of normal, compared to patients without gout.
Previous research had shown that high levels of uric acid might be bad for kidneys and that patients with gout may have a higher risk of kidney failure.
The study sheds new light on the importance and potential impact of gout on kidney function.
Gout is the most common inflammatory arthritis which causes severe pain and suffering due to a build-up of uric acid in joints.
It affects almost 2.5 % of the adult population and causes significant pain and disability due to its effects on joints, tendons, and bone.
Treatments that lower uric acid levels in the bloodstream are effective in preventing both the acute flares of gout and the long-term damage it causes in joints, however current evidence shows that gout remains poorly managed in the population.
CKD is a common chronic condition that affects around 15% of adults in the Irish health system and has a major impact on a person health.
The lead author of the study is Professor Austin Stack, Foundation Chair of Medicine at UL GEMS.
The study is published in the BMJ Open.
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