Serendipitous Gout Research Findings

Those who suffer from Gout know how painful and tiresome that flare-ups can be. A painstaking amount of thought and care is taken to eliminate triggers and make lifestyle changes to avoid repeated attacks. And, as the prevalence of Gout keeps climbing sufferers may be able to find brief solace over the condition’s silver lining. Studies from the Harvard Medical School and Pennsylvania State University theorize that having Gout may lead to a decreased risk of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease.

Gout  is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis, affecting more than 8M Americans.1 It is characterized by an attack of sudden burning pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint,usually a big toe,2 and is caused by an elevated amount of uric acid in the bloodstream. But, by making conscious lifestyle decisions to maintain a healthy weight, exercise frequently, and avoid triggers such as alcohol or red meat gout flare-ups can be avoided. While it is painful, a strong home treatment program can work wonders in helping to effectively manage the condition.

For some having too much uric acid isn’t harmful. For others, if levels are too high, the uric acid can crystallize between joints.3 While having gout is painful and sometimes debilitating, researchers have found that high levels of uric acid can potentially protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

A study conducted by Dr. Hyon Choi of the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School analyzed the medical records of 3.7 million British patients from 1995-2013. And, after accounting for various other lifestyle factors, they determined that those with gout had a 24% decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. 4  This study aligns with the research from Pennsylvania State University where a study found that men with the highest levels of uric acid had a 40% decreased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.5

What could cause this decreased risk? The primary theory is that the anti-oxidative properties of the uric acid can be destructive to cells, acting as a scavenger of oxidative stress materials. Or, is that those who might have a genetic disposition for developing gout may also have a genetic disposition for not developing Alzheimer’s? 6  

While the connection between conditions is solid, more research needs to be conducted. Suffering from a chronic condition has a large, impactful presence but the research from these studies provides unique insight into gout, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

While this may provide for brief, unexpected relief,  the first step towards long-term relief is consulting your physician. And, after that? Peers who are having the same experiences are the best resource for continued relief. Joining Peer Health can keep you updated on all relevant preventative measures and coping strategies while providing a community that completely understands your experience. Join us today.

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