Background: First-line therapy of hypertension includes diuretics, known to exert a multiplicative increase on the risk of gout. Detailed insight into the underlying prevalence of hyperuricemia and gout in persons with uncontrolled blood pressure (BP) and common comorbidities is informative to practitioners initiating antihypertensive agents. We quantify the prevalence of hyperuricemia and gout in persons with uncontrolled BP and additional cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.
Methods and findings: We performed a cross-sectional study of non-institutionalized US adults, 18 years and older, using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys in 1988-1994 and 1999-2010. Hyperuricemia was defined as serum uric acid >6.0 mg/dL in women; >7.0 mg/dL in men. Gout was ascertained by self-report of physician-diagnosed gout. Uncontrolled BP was based on measured systolic BP≥140 mmHg and diastolic BP≥90 mmHg. Additional CVD risk factors included obesity, reduced glomerular filtration rate, and dyslipidemia. The prevalence of hyperuricemia was 6-8% among healthy US adults, 10-15% among adults with uncontrolled BP, 22-25% with uncontrolled BP and one additional CVD risk factor, and 34-37% with uncontrolled BP and two additional CVD risk factors. Similarly, the prevalence of gout was successively greater, at 1-2%, 4-5%, 6-8%, and 8-12%, respectively, across these same health status categories. In 2007-2010, those with uncontrolled BP and 2 additional CVD risk factors compared to those without CVD risk factors had prevalence ratios of 4.5 (95% CI 3.5-5.6) and 4.5 (95% CI: 3.1-6.3) for hyperuricemia and gout respectively (P<0.01).
Conclusions: Health care providers should be cognizant of the incrementally higher prevalence of hyperuricemia and gout among patients with uncontrolled BP and additional CVD risk factors. With one in three people affected by hyperuricemia among those with several CVD risk factors, physicians should consider their anti-hypertensive regimens carefully and potentially screen for hyperuricemia or gout.