A new study has clarified the role of diet in the risk of developing gout the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in men. By taking a comprehensive look at a broad range of dietary factors, the report confirms the suspicion that consumption of purine-rich meats and seafood increases the risk of gout. It also determines that purine-rich vegetables and overall protein intake do not raise risk. Appearing in the March 11 New England Journal of Medicine
, the study also finds that intake of dairy products, particularly low-fat, may be protective against gout.
"The association of purine-rich foods with gout had long been suspected but never proven," says Hyon Choi, MD, DrPH, of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Rheumatology Unit, the paper's lead author. "Any contribution of protein intake to risk was uncertain, and this is the first evidence that dairy products can be strongly protective." The report is part of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which is based at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).
A painful condition affecting more than 5 million adults in the U.S., gout is caused by deposits of uric acid in connective tissue, often in joints of the feet or ankles, that lead to inflammatory arthritis. Symptoms include swelling, redness, stiffness, and severe pain. Although attacks of gout can subside in a few days, repeated attacks can cause permanent joint damage, and the disease often results in substantial disability, occupational limitations and frequent medical care. Treatment includes the pain-relieving drugs called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) and for more serious outbreaks, corticosteroid drugs like prednisone. Most patients with gout eventually require long-term treatment with medications that lower blood uric acid levels.
Because uric acid is formed by the breakdown of purines compounds found in all human tissues and in many foods gout patients have long been advised to avPage: 1 2 3 Related medicine news :1
Contact: Sue McGreevey
Massachusetts General Hospital
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