What is the connection between Gout and Cholesterol?
In this post we will examine the relationship between gout and cholesterol. Cholesterol is one of the many fats in your blood that your body utilizes to make cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and makes up digestive bile acids in the intestine. Cholesterol is an essential substance that is produced by your body but can also be ingested from animal derived foods like cheese and butter. Cholesterol is oil-based and blood is water-based, so you can see how both don’t mix very well. That’s why it is carried around the body in the blood by lipoproteins.
There are 2 types of cholesterol what we call LDL (low-density lipoprotein) which is the bad cholesterol because in high levels it produces the buildup of plaque in the artery walls slowing down blood circulation, narrowing the arteries, the condition known as atherosclerosis.
The good cholesterol is HDL (high-density lipoprotein) which fights and removes LDL cholesterol away from the artery walls. Then you have the odd man out in triglycerides which is not a type of cholesterol and is a type of fat found in your blood. Usually it is measured when your doctor is checking your blood cholesterol and high triglycerides are usually associated with obesity, diabetes and excess alcohol consumption.
Remember that high blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke just like gout is but cholesterol is more so. Having high cholesterol does not produce any symptoms in itself like gout does. But you don’t want to get a heart attack, a very painful event that lasts a few seconds and can kill you, trust me.
There is a link between high uric acid levels and increased risk of heart disease and stroke which I’ve discussed in detail in a previous post. So many of you may be suffering from high uric acid levels and gout, and also have high blood pressure as well. Maybe the gout came first or the high cholesterol but having both these diseases increases your risk of heart disease and stroke even more. You are also probably taking diuretics or water pills as they call them, to control your cholesterol and did you also know that diuretics may also cause gout?
What gout does is it contributes to unhealthy cholesterol and lipid levels, so it’s important for all gout sufferers to not only monitor their uric acid levels but also their cholesterol as well. There is a good study that shows that increased uric acid levels are linked to obesity, distorted cholesterol levels and high blood pressure! When all three are present, this is known as metabolic syndrome and formerly known as syndrome X. All this leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
In another study published in 2011 in the Journal of Human Hypertension found that high cholesterol is independently and directly related to high uric acid in the blood, although the causal relationship between the two is still unknown to this day. Furthermore, the study found that high cholesterol levels were associated with high uric acid in the blood and this regardless of age, gender and/or other metabolic factors. Interesting, eh!?
In the end, optimal LDL cholesterol is anything below 100 mg/dl. As for HDL the good cholesterol, the higher the better but you should strive for anything above 60 mg/dl. Best way to avoid high blood pressure is to eat well and exercise and by eating well I mean limit foods high in cholesterol and saturated fats like butter, coconut oil, lard, red meat, fried food, organ meats, shrimp, shellfish, porc, sausages and the list goes on. Choose healthy fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, found mainly in extra virgin olive oil, nuts and fish. Learn more here.