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Alcohol Triggers Gout Attack

By on February 3, 2014

Bad news for gout sufferers who enjoy drinking the fruit of the vine – new research finds that all types of alcohol, even previously exempt wine, can bring on attacks of the painful condition.

“I don’t want to sound too dogmatic and say, ‘You must stop drinking,'” lead author Dr. Tuhina Neogi told the media. But, the Boston University rheumatologist said, “based on this study, I would counsel patients that any type of alcohol may trigger an attack.”

“It’s not just beer or hard liquor that can trigger attacks, but also wine,” she said.

Gout is a potentially debilitating form of arthritis that afflicts more than 8 million American adults, and the number is rising, Neogi’s team writes in The American Journal of Medicine.

The so-called disease of kings causes joints to swell and redden. It most often strikes overweight men’s big toes but also claims feet, ankles, knees, hands and wrists. A link between intoxicating beverages and gout has been suspected since ancient times.

A 2004 landmark study of more than 47,000 men found that drinking beer and hard liquor – but not wine – increased the risk of developing gout. Neither has wine been shown in other studies to bring on attacks in people who already have gout, the way beer and liquor have.

Wine was one of the worst triggers, at least for men. Regularly drinking a glass or two of wine hiked the odds of recurrent attacks by 138 percent, and drinking two to four servings of beer raised the risk by 75 percent.

“Moderate drinking,” which is one drink for women and two drinks for men, did not significantly raise women’s risk, but there were too few women in the study to estimate the effect, the researchers note.


Portions of this article courtesy of Reuters Health.

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