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What gout flare-ups may mean to your risk of heart attack and stroke

If you're ever had gout, you know how painful and debilitating the flare-ups can be. But your feet may not be the only things that need attention. A new study shows a bout with gout may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke temporarily afterward. Viv Williams has details in this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion."

Bare feet sticking out of bed covers
Photo courtesy of PxHere.
Gout can make even light pressure from bed sheets painful for your toes.
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ROCHESTER — If you have a gout flare-up, your risk of having a heart attack or stroke may rise during the four months afterward. That's according to a new study by researchers at the University of Nottingham and Keele University in the UK.

They found that gout patients who had a heart attack or stroke were twice as likely to have had a flare-up of gout in the 60 days beforehand, and were one and a half times more likely to have had a gout flare-up as long as 120 days beforehand.

People with gout tend to have more cardiovascular risk factors than people who don't suffer from gout.

“People with gout should be encouraged to adopt a healthy lifestyle with appropriate treatment of conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes to minimize their background risk of heart attack and stroke,” said Dr. Abhishek Abhishek, lead author of the study.

Gout is a form of arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid, a chemical produced by the body. The uric acid forms into sharp crystals that build up around joints, causing inflammation and severe pain. Certain foods and drinks can make the situation worse.

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Inflammation is also a risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

The researchers says people with recurrent gout flares should consider long-term urate lowering treatments.

The study is published in the journal JAMA.

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Follow the  Health Fusion podcast on  Apple,   Spotify and  Google podcasts. For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at  vwilliams@newsmd.com. Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

Opinion by Viv Williams
Viv Williams hosts the NewsMD podcast and column, "Health Fusion." She is an Emmy (and other) award-winning health and medical reporter whose stories have run on TV, digital and newspaper outlets nationwide. Viv is passionate about boosting people's health and happiness by helping them access credible, reliable and research-based health information from top experts. She regularly interviews experts and patients from leading medical institutions, such as Mayo Clinic.
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