Background: Limited prospective information exists on the relation between obesity and weight change and the risk of gout. Similarly, both hypertension and diuretic use have been considered risk factors for gout; however, their independent contributions have not been established prospectively.
Methods: We prospectively examined over a 12-year period (1986-1998) the relation between adiposity, weight change, hypertension, and diuretic use and incident gout in 47,150 male participants with no history of gout at baseline. We used a supplementary questionnaire to ascertain the American College of Rheumatology criteria for gout.
Results: During 12 years we documented 730 confirmed incident cases of gout. Compared with men with a body mass index (BMI) of 21 to 22.9, the multivariate relative risks (RRs) of gout were 1.95 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.44-2.65) for men with a BMI of 25 to 29.9, 2.33 (95% CI, 1.62-3.36) for men with a BMI of 30 to 34.9, and 2.97 (95% CI, 1.73-5.10) for men with a BMI of 35 or greater (P for trend <.001). Compared with men who had maintained their weight (+/-4 lb) since age 21 years, the multivariate RR of gout for men who had gained 30 lb or more since age 21 years was 1.99 (95% CI, 1.49-2.66). In contrast, the multivariate RR for men who had lost 10 lb or more since the study baseline was 0.61 (95% CI, 0.40-0.92). The multivariate RRs of gout were 2.31 (95% CI, 1.96-2.72) for the presence of hypertension and 1.77 (95% CI, 1.42-2.20) for diuretic use.
Conclusions: Higher adiposity and weight gain are strong risk factors for gout in men, while weight loss is protective. Hypertension and diuretic use are also important independent risk factors for gout.