The prevalence of gout -- a form of arthritis characterized by severe pain, redness and tenderness in joints -- increased across the world at an alarming rate from 1990 to 2017, say researchers.

"The increasing trend of gout burden is most likely to continue as the global aging population is on the rise," said senior author Emma Smith from the University of Sydney in Australia. "Attempts to lessen the disease onset and future burden of gout requires better awareness, especially of risk factors, and early diagnosis and treatment," Smith added.

The main objective of the researchers was to describe the level and trends of point prevalence, annual incidence and years lived with gout and its attributable risk factors in 195 countries from 1990 to 2017 by age, sex, and socio-demographic index. The study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology found that there were approximately 41.2 million prevalent cases of gout in 2017 with the rate of newly-diagnosed cases being 92 per 1,00,000 people, an increase of 5.5 percent from 1990.

Gout Cases on Rise Globally


Gout was more common in males and in older individuals. The burden of gout was generally highest in developed regions and countries. According to the researchers, a high body mass index and impaired kidney function were risk factors for gout.

The researchers revealed that data was obtained from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD), 2017. A comprehensive systematic review of databases and the disease modeled analysis was performed to provide the estimates at global, regional, and national levels during 1990 and 2017. Counts and age-standardized rates per 1,00,000 population along with 95 percent uncertainty intervals (UIs) were reported for point prevalence, annual incidence and years lived with disability.

"The burden of gout increased across the world from 1990 to 2017 with variation in age-standardized point prevalence, annual incidence and years lived with a disability between countries and territories," the study authors wrote.