Women with gout are at greater risk of a heart attack than men with the disease, indicates research published ahead of print in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
Gout is known to boost the risk of a heart attack in men. But to date, little has been known about the impact of gout on women's cardiovascular health.
The authors base their findings on a population study of more than 9,500 gout patients and 48,000 people without the disease, aged 65 and older.
The cardiovascular health of all the participants was tracked for an average of seven years, during which time 3,268 fatal and non-fatal heart attacks occurred. Of these, just under a third (996) were in women.
Compared with women who did not have gout, those who did were 39% more likely to have a heart attack of any kind and 41% more likely to have a non-fatal heart attack.
The risks were significantly higher among the women than among the men. Men with gout were only 11% more likely than those without the disease to have a fatal or non-fatal heart attack.
The findings held true after adjusting for factors likely to influence the results, such as age, other underlying health problems, and use of prescription drugs.
The authors comment that excess uric acid may boost levels of inflammation and platelet stickiness, both of which are implicated in coronary artery heart disease. Other forms of arthritis also boost the risk of cardiovascular disease.