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Keywords:

  • Australia;
  • gout;
  • hyperuricaemia;
  • prevalence;
  • epidemiology

Abstract

Aims:  Gout is a growing health problem worldwide especially in affluent countries, such as Australia. Gout and hyperuricaemia are associated with the metabolic syndrome, diabetes mellitus, obesity and hypertension. More importantly, Australia has a growing prevalence of these important health problems. The aim of this study was to systematically review published information regarding the prevalence of gout and hyperuricaemia in Australia.

Methods:  A systematic search was undertaken of the MEDLINE, EMBASE and Web of Science databases, as well as relevant websites for journal articles and reports relating to the prevalence of hyperuricaemia and gout in Australia.

Results:  Twenty-five journal articles and five reports were included in the review. Data collected in a standardised way show gout increased in prevalence from 0.5% population prevalence to 1.7% population prevalence from 1968 to 1995/1996. There has been a significant rise in the prevalence of gout in the Australian Aboriginal population from 0% in 1965 to 9.7% in men and 2.9% in women in 2002. Consistent with the rise in gout prevalence, serum uric acid in blood donors has increased from 1959 to 1980 (17% in 30- to 40-year-old men).

Conclusions:  The rate of gout and hyperuricaemia in Australia is high in relation to comparable countries and is increasing. The prevalence of gout in elderly male Australians is second only to New Zealand, which has the highest reported rate in the world. Further research on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gout and hyperuricaemia is required as a result of the lack of contemporary data.