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Abstract

Objective

To estimate the prevalence of gout and hyperuricemia based on the latest nationally representative sample of US men and women (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey [NHANES] 2007–2008).

Methods

Using data from 5,707 participants in NHANES 2007–2008, we estimated the prevalence of gout and hyperuricemia. During home interviews for NHANES 2007–2008, all participants were asked about a history of health professional– or physician-diagnosed gout. Our primary definition of hyperuricemia was a serum urate level of >7.0 mg/dl for men and >5.7 mg/dl for women. We explored potential secular trends in these estimates and their possible explanations by comparing them with estimates based on 18,825 participants in NHANES-III (1988–1994).

Results

The prevalence of gout among US adults in 2007–2008 was 3.9% (8.3 million individuals). The prevalence among men was 5.9% (6.1 million), and the prevalence among women was 2.0% (2.2 million). The mean serum urate levels were 6.14 mg/dl among men and 4.87 mg/dl among women, corresponding to hyperuricemia prevalences of 21.2% and 21.6%, respectively. These estimates were higher than those in NHANES-III, with differences of 1.2% in the prevalence of gout (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.6, 1.9), 0.15 mg/dl in the serum urate level (95% CI 0.07, 0.24), and 3.2% in the prevalence of hyperuricemia (95% CI 1.2, 5.2). These differences were substantially attenuated after adjusting for body mass index and/or hypertension.

Conclusion

These findings from nationally representative samples of US adults suggest that the prevalence of both gout and hyperuricemia remains substantial and may have increased over the past 2 decades, which is likely related to increasing frequencies of adiposity and hypertension.