Women's health

Women with gout at greater risk of heart attack than men

Risk increased by more than a third

Women with gout are at greater risk of a heart attack than men with the disease, new research suggests.

It's already known that gout boosts the risk of a heart attack in men. But little is known about the effect of gout on women’s cardiovascular health.

Gout is a a type of joint inflammation caused by a build up of result of uric acid crystals. Uric acid is a by-product of purines, which are abundant in a Western diet.

Scientists from Boston University School of Medicine tracked the cardiovascular health of more than 9500 gout patients and 48,000 people without the disease for an average of seven years. All were aged 65 or over.

During this time 3268 fatal and non-fatal heart attacks occurred, with just under a third (996) occurring in women.

Women with gout were 39% more likely to have a heart attack of any kind and 41% more likely to have a non-fatal heart attack compared with women who did not have gout.

But men with gout were only 11% more likely than those without the disease to have a fatal or non-fatal heart attack.

The findings, published online to-day in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, held true after adjusting for factors likely to influence the results, such as age, other underlying health problems, and medication.

The researchers suggested that excess uric acid may boost levels of inflammation and platelet stickiness, both of which are implicated in coronary artery heart disease. Other forms of arthritis are also known to boost the risk of cardiovascular disease

This article was published on Mon 8 February 2010



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