3 Conditions Related to Gout

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Greenfield, Paige

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Although gout can strike on its own, many times it comes with a partner—or two—in crime. Several conditions are strongly associated with the disease. In some cases, one of the conditions may cause the other, while other times both conditions result from other factors. Knowing what to watch out for and alerting your doctor to any changes in your body will help you better manage your health and improve your well-being.

1. Type 2 Diabetes

If you have gout, you may have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Researchers aren’t sure exactly how the conditions are linked. However, they believe several factors may play a role:

  • High insulin levels, which occur with type 2 diabetes, may reduce the kidneys’ ability to get rid of uric acid. Elevated uric acid in the body can lead to gout.

  • Gout and type 2 diabetes share several common risk factors. These include obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. If you have any of these risk factors, you may have a higher risk of developing both diseases.

  • People with gout may have chronic inflammation in their bodies that contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes

Fortunately, managing risk factors for one condition can help control the other. For instance, the lifestyle changes your doctor recommends if you have gout, such as exercising and losing weight, can also reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. To help make exercise a part of your daily life, find an activity you enjoy, whether it’s walking, swimming, or even dancing. Alter your workout routine regularly to keep things interesting. Exercising with a buddy can also help you stick to your plan. 

2. Bursitis

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Like gout, bursitis is considered a rheumatic disease. This means it causes inflammation, redness, heat, swelling, and pain. With bursitis, the bursae—tiny fluid-filled sacs that provide a cushion between your bones and other joint structuresy—become inflamed. This may lead to pain and limited motion in the nearby joints.

So what’s the gout connection? During an attack, your gout may target your bursae, especially the bony tip of the elbow and top of the kneecap. What’s more, if your uric acid levels are not well-controlled, you may develop tophi—large uric acid–filled lumps—on your bursae. This can cause the bursae to become painfully inflamed.

Your doctor can help. Treatment may include medications like allopurinol (Lopurin) or febuxostat (Uloric) to control your uric acid levels. This can help prevent future gout attacks and also reduce your risk of developing tophi.

3. Kidney Disease

Your doctor may have also talked with you about the risk for kidney disease when you have gout. These two conditions often go hand in hand: high levels of uric acid can contribute to kidney disease and can also be a sign of kidney disease. How is this possible?

Gout may lead to kidney disease because high levels of uric acid may be toxic to the kidneys. In addition, excess uric acid can make other risk factors for kidney disease, such as high blood pressure, worse.

On the flip side, kidney disease may contribute to gout because the kidneys aren’t able to filter uric acid out of the blood and into the urine as well as they should. Over time, this buildup of uric acid can lead to gout.

Be sure to discuss all of your symptoms with your physician. Together, you can develop a treatment plan that works best for you and helps prevent complications, such as those that can affect your kidneys.

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Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Feb 16, 2016

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Medical References

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  2. Weiner DE, et al. Uric Acid and Incident Kidney Disease. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2008;19(6):1204–1211.
  3. Uromodulin-associated kidney disease. Genetics Home Reference, U.S. National Library of Medicine.   https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/uromodulin-associated-kidney-disease
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  5. Gout Self-care. Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/gout/self-care.php
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  8. Uric acid - blood. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003476.htm
  9. Exercise and Physical Fitness. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/exerciseandphysicalfitness.html
  10. Metabolic Syndrome. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/metabolicsyndrome.html
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