Links Between Gout and Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis affecting 1 in 10 adults in North America and affects women as well as men equally past the age of 60, OA being more common as we age. OA is also much more common than gout. Presently there is no cure for osteoarthritis but if you are diagnosed early and take control of the disease with the correct treatment you can delay the deterioration of your joints.
What happens with people that suffer from osteoarthritis is that their cartilage, that elastic part of the body that covers and protects the bones, acting as a shock absorber, begins to slowly to deteriorate and erode resulting in pain, swelling and stiffness. Osteoarthritis progresses slowly over months and years and to this day there is no cure. Kinda sounds familiar to us gout sufferers. Right?
Do note that osteoarthritis is not an autoimmune disease like gout but a condition of wear and tear associated with aging or injury since many athletes suffer from OA caused from sports injuries. Sometimes gout and osteoarthritis can be mistaken for each other since both can be identified by inflammation and swelling.
With osteoarthritis, swelling and inflammation usually occurs at the joint closest to the fingernail whereas with gout, usually affects joints in the big toe. OA symptoms like stiffness tend to worsen throughout the day compared to gout stiffness which is only present during the time of the attack. With OA one can suffer pain and stiffness in one or more joints like knee and elbow whereas with gout it’s always one joint. OA is a continuous and ongoing disease with no remissions compared to gout which is a metabolic disease. The OA patient will experience fatigue, weakness in their muscles, bone enlargement, deformity, experience restricted movement and have their joints lock from time to time. It is a more painful and symptomatic disease.
New evidence seems to suggest that maybe uric acid lowering drugs like allopurinol be used in patients of OA to slow down the progression of the disease since uric acid increases the severity of OA in those patients.
Recent research shows how many gout sufferers go on to later suffer from osteoarthritis. A recent study which studied 75 men aged between 55 and 85 years old from a Veteran’s Affairs clinic and were divided in 3 groups of 25. 25 of them suffered from gout, 25 of them suffered from asymptomatic hyperuricemia meaning they had no symptoms from the higher uric acid levels in their blood and the last group of 25 suffered from neither.
What the researchers noticed was the group that suffered from gout had the highest number of patients suffering from osteoarthritis as well, a whopping 68% of them. The asymptomatic hyperuricemia group had 52% of its patients suffering from OA and the last group that suffered from neither conditions had only 28% of patients suffering from OA.
So prevalence and severity of osteoarthritis is higher in older men that also suffered from gout. This is something you should be careful with dear gout sufferer. Another Chinese study you can check out and published in Osteoarthritis & Cartilage concluded that gout may increase the risk of knee replacement in patients with osteoarthritis. Help avoid OA by exercising, keeping your weight and BMI down, and follow a strict gout diet that I outline in my ebook.