People who suffer from gout, a painful inflammatory arthritis, may not have an increased risk of fracture as earlier believed, says a new study. Gout is a common form of arthritis that can affect anyone. Sudden, sever attacks of pain, swelling, redness and tenderness, often to the joint at the base of the big toe accompany this condition.
A gout attack can occur suddenly, often waking you up in the middle of the night with the sensation that your big toe is on fire. The joint can get hot, swollen and so tender that even a small weight on it may seem a lot. According to Dr Shalini Suralkar, full time consultant rheumatologist, Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital, “The pain can be quite excruciating, that’s the most important symptom to watch out for. Most patients can suffer an attack in the middle of the night.”
Method for study
Gout is caused by the build-up of urate crystals in a joint. To better understand the links between gout and fracture risk, the researchers from Keele University conducted a study in Britain using a large primary care database.
It included 31,781 patients with gout who were matched to 122,961 controls and followed them for between 6.8 and 13.6 years until the first diagnosis of a fracture. The rate of fracture was similar in people with and without gout, the findings showed.
In addition, medication to lower urate levels in people with gout did not appear to benefit or adversely affect the long-term risk of fractures. “Our use of a nationally representative cohort should enable our study findings to be generalisable not only to the UK but also to other countries with similar health care systems,” said Zoe Paskins from Keele University.
Any other risks?
According to Dr Suralkar, “Gout can lead to a fracture only if a person has really long-standing condition and has affected almost all the joints. Otherwise there is no risk of fracture involved. However, it is important to note that if gout is left untreated over many years it can also affect a person’s kidney and could lead to damaging of the joints.”