Gout isn’t merely challenging; it’s excruciatingly painful. This agonizing health condition is leaving its footprint on a global scale, with around 9.2 million people in the United States grappling with this ailment. It’s abundantly clear that gout is far more prevalent than one might assume.

But there’s a broader story here. Recent statistics reveal that gout cases are on the rise worldwide. In 2017, a striking 92 out of every 100,000 people received a new gout diagnosis, marking a 5.5% increase since 1990. These numbers highlight the growing impact of gout, not just in your neighborhood but across borders.

In this article, we’ll closely examine these statistics to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of gout’s prevalence and impact. Whether this condition personally affects you or you simply have a curiosity about the numbers, we aim to reveal the complexities of gout statistics.

So, take a moment to settle in, perhaps with a warm cup of tea (keeping purine levels in check, of course), as we explore the world of gout statistics together.

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Gout at a Glance

Gout, a type of arthritis, develops when uric acid crystals accumulate in the body, resulting from elevated uric acid levels in the bloodstream. This condition triggers inflammation in one or multiple joints, causing persistent joint damage, along with symptoms like pain, redness, swelling, and warmth in the affected areas.

Causes of Gout

Gout primarily stems from excessive uric acid levels, often associated with a diet rich in red meat, sugary beverages like soda, and excessive alcohol consumption.

Prevalence of Gout

Gout stands as the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in the United States, affecting a significant portion of the population. An estimated 9.2 million Americans grapple with this condition, with cases steadily increasing since 1990.

In 2017, newly diagnosed cases globally reached 92 per 100,000 individuals, while in the United States, this figure soared to approximately 2,700 per 100,000. Rates vary according to age and gender.

Rising Gout Cases

Over nearly three decades, from 1990 to 2017, gout cases surged by approximately 5.5%. This upward trend is anticipated to persist, attributed to factors such as an aging population and the popularity of Western diets.

Gout Mortality Rates

Gout, though not usually deadly on its own, may raise the risk of serious conditions like heart disease. In severe cases, left untreated, it might lead to severe consequences. A study found that, on average, 85% of people with gout survived for seven years.

Among the 15% who didn’t, about 66% passed away due to heart issues. Other causes of death included kidney problems, cancer, and infections. The average age of death in the study was around 62 years old.

Gout is Linked to Early Death

A recent study using UK medical records covering 10 million individuals reveals a dire connection: Gout, the most common inflammatory arthritis in the US, affecting over 4% of adults, increases the risk of early death by 25%.

This heightened mortality risk has persisted for 16 years, unlike rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which has seen declining mortality rates.

The study analyzed data from over 103,000 gout patients matched with nearly 515,000 controls. Even after adjusting for various factors, individuals with gout consistently faced higher mortality rates, irrespective of the period examined.

In contrast, RA has witnessed reduced premature death rates due to improved treatment options and the “treat to target” approach.

Gout, often underestimated compared to RA, is more common and continuously inflames joints. The majority of gout patients should receive urate-lowering medication, but few do, and fewer maintain consistent treatment, which is crucial for dissolving uric acid crystals and triggering inflammation.

This study underscores the urgent need for proactive gout management to improve outcomes and potentially save lives.

The Importance of Early Detection and Screening

When it comes to gout, there aren’t specific tests for screening or early detection like you might find for some other conditions. However, if you’re worried about your gout risk, you can have a blood test to check your uric acid levels.

Once gout symptoms start showing up, your healthcare provider will order tests to confirm if it’s indeed gout. They might use an ultrasound, which is a type of imaging test that looks inside your joints. This helps them see if there’s any crystallization happening in those affected joints. Confirming gout early on is essential because it allows healthcare providers to start treatment and reduce the risk of permanent joint damage.

Getting a diagnosis and beginning treatment early is crucial for better health outcomes. When treatment begins, you’ll also get information about what symptoms to watch out for, your increased risk for certain conditions, and the steps you can take to lower the chances of severe complications from this condition.

Gout and Chronic Kidney Disease Insights


  • Gout’s global prevalence is on the rise, now the most common adult inflammatory arthropathy.
  • In the U.S., gout affects 3.9% of adults (8.3 million), with hyperuricemia prevalent in 6-8% of healthy adults and 1 in 3 adults with uncontrolled hypertension and cardiovascular risk factors.
  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) affects 14.8% of U.S. adults and 11-13% worldwide.
  • In the U.S., 37 million adults have CKD, with 1 in 3 at risk.

Key Risk Factors

  • Gout risk factors: high serum uric acid, male gender, age over 65, post-menopausal status.
  • CKD risk factors: diabetes, hypertension, family history of kidney failure, African American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, or American Indian descent.


  • Gout diagnosis: Arthrocentesis (detecting uric acid crystals in synovial fluid under microscopy) is the gold standard.
  • CKD diagnosis: Glomerular filtration rate and urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio are key tests.

Barriers to Management

  • Physicians often limit gout treatment to acute attacks, neglecting its chronic nature.
  • Urate-lowering treatment is underprescribed and often under-dosed.

Global Gout Cases Surpass 41 Million, Alarming Increase

The global burden of gout significantly escalated from 1990 to 2017, with a total of 41.2 million prevalent cases and 1.3 million years lived with disability (YLD) estimated for 2017, as per data in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

Saeid Safiri, PhD, and colleagues from Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in Iran, examined data from the 2017 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study. The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation conducted this extensive study.It encompassed burden estimates and trends for 359 diseases and injuries across regions and countries between 1990 and 2017.

Their findings revealed approximately 41.2 million prevalent gout cases worldwide in 2017, with 7.4 million incident cases annually and nearly 1.3 million YLD. The global age-standardized point prevalence for 2017 was roughly 510.6 per 100,000 people, with an annual incidence rate of 91.8 per 100,000, reflecting increases of 7.2% and 5.5% since 1990, respectively.

Moreover, the age-standardized rate of YLD was 15.9 per 100,000, a 7.2% increase since 1990. The burden was higher in males, particularly in older age groups. Developed regions and countries, including New Zealand, Australia, and the United States, reported the highest point-prevalence estimates in 2017. The United States, Canada, and Oman witnessed the most substantial increases from 1990 to 2017.

High body mass index (BMI) and impaired kidney function contributed to 32.4% and 15.3% of all YLD due to gout in 2017, with higher risks observed in males.

The study emphasizes the alarming global rise in gout and highlights the necessity for public health interventions, including education programs targeting middle-aged males to promote gout awareness, risk factors, consequences, and effective management.

Furthermore, encouraging population-based studies on musculoskeletal diseases, especially in less developed countries, may enhance disease burden monitoring and inform future policies.

Gout Facts and Associated Health Issues

Gout, the most prevalent inflammatory arthritis among adults worldwide, exhibits a wide range of prevalence (1-4%) and incidence (0.1-0.3%). It overwhelmingly affects men, with a male-to-female ratio ranging from 3:1 to 10:1.

As individuals age, gout incidence and prevalence rise significantly, reaching up to 11-13% prevalence and 0.4% incidence among those aged over 80. Certain racial and ethnic groups, such as racial minorities in the U.S., New Zealand Māori, Han Chinese, and specific Asian ethnicities, experience a higher prevalence of gout.

Gout Prevalence Rising Globally: Study

A worldwide study on gout shows that this inflammatory disease is becoming more common. Emma Smith, PhD, a senior author from The University of Sydney, Australia, suggests that the rising trend is likely to continue as the global population ages. To combat this, she emphasizes the need for better awareness, especially about risk factors, and early diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Smith and her team gathered information from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2017. This study involved researchers and experts worldwide and looked at gout on a global, regional, and national level from 1990 to 2017.

The findings revealed that there were approximately 41.2 million people with gout worldwide in 2017. Each year, about 7.4 million new cases were reported, and nearly 1.3 million years were affected by disability due to gout.

In 2017, the global rates of gout were estimated at 510.6 per 100,000 people for prevalence and 91.8 per 100,000 for incidence. These rates showed a 7.2% and 5.5% increase, respectively, from 1990.

The rate of years lived with disability (YLD) per 100,000 people was 15.9, which was a 7.2% increase since 1990.

Gout Prevalence Insights

  • Gender and Age Impact: Higher gout prevalence was noted among males and increased with age for both males and females.
  • High Burden in Developed Regions: Developed countries carried the heaviest gout burden. In 2017, the top three countries with the highest age-standardized gout prevalence were New Zealand (1,394.0), Australia (1,171.4), and the United States (996.0).
  • Notable Increases: The countries with the most significant increases in age-standardized gout prevalence from 1990 to 2017 were the United States (34.7%), Canada (28.5%), and Oman (28.0%) during the study period.

Factors Contributing to Gout

  • Weight and Kidney Function: In 2017, about 32.4% of the years lived with disability (YLDs) due to gout were linked to high body mass index (BMI), and approximately 15.3% were associated with impaired kidney function. These risk factors had a more pronounced impact on males.

This research was published in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

The Key to Reducing the Global Burden

To decrease the global burden of gout, it’s essential to not only improve clinical management but also focus on prevention and community health promotion. Providing fundamental knowledge about gout, its risk factors, consequences, and effective treatments is crucial.

Special attention should be given to high-risk groups, such as middle-aged men, to prevent the onset of this disease and reduce its global impact. Initiatives like public health campaigns and educational programs can empower individuals to make informed choices about their lifestyle and diet.

So, in simpler terms, the study found that gout is becoming more common globally, affecting millions of people each year, and causing disability in a significant number of cases. By raising awareness and implementing preventative measures, we can work towards a world with fewer gout-related challenges.

Promoting Awareness and Proactive Management

In summary, gout is a widespread concern globally, affecting millions and leading to increased disability. Recent statistics reveal a rising trend in gout cases, emphasizing the need for awareness and early diagnosis. While gout itself may not be fatal, it significantly raises the risk of severe health issues, including heart disease.

Managing gout involves understanding risk factors, recognizing symptoms, and taking proactive steps to prevent complications. Unfortunately, specific screening tests for gout are lacking, making early detection challenging. However, monitoring uric acid levels through a blood test can provide valuable insights.

Once symptoms appear, timely confirmation using tests like ultrasound is crucial to initiate treatment promptly and preventing permanent joint damage. To address the growing burden of gout, it’s vital to promote awareness and proactive management, especially among high-risk groups like middle-aged men. By doing so, we can mitigate the impact of this painful condition and improve overall health outcomes.