As I was sharing yesterday’s post about the real dangers of gout, a friend pointed out a new report about gout and heart disease that moves us closer towards understanding the links between these two diseases.
In The effects of gout on left atrial volume remodelling, Taiwanese researchers have shown significant effects of gout on the heart. There is still much work to do before we can get a useable practical understanding, but this is another milestone pointing towards better clinical practice for gout and heart disease.
I will incorporate a more complete summary of the latest research into a new heart page within my gout and other disease guidelines. That will summarize various recent studies that investigate the links between heart disease and gout. It may take me a while to review all the relevant information, so here is a mini review of this new research.
Gout and Heart Disease Study
Researchers divided 173 patients into 4 groups of varying severity of gout. Severity was not measured by uric acid level, but by the progression of tophi. Least severe cases had no visible tophi and no gout symptoms. More severe cases had gouty arthritis with tophi.
The subjects underwent comprehensive testing of heart pumping ability. Where the heart has difficulty pumping blood, it is common for the Left Atrium to become enlarged. The researchers found that impaired heart pumping ability and left atrium enlargement were associated with progressive severity of gout. This link is strong enough for them to predict that high uric acid combined with enlarged left atrium are indicators of tophaceous gout. More importantly, they predict that the changes to the heart caused by gout may cause heart attacks.
Gout and Heart Disease: Next Steps
Following on from this investigation, it would be nice to see some case studies to evaluate if reduction of tophi through uric acid lowering treatment leads to improved heart health. Other reports suggest that allopurinol may reduce the risk of heart disease, so there is some hope.
Rather than rely on hope, you need to take action today. I can only repeat my pleadings from yesterday, and hope you control gout and your life.
Not long until Valentines Day now. I hope you take care of your gout and your heart.