Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis. The condition mainly occurs due to uric acid buildup in the body. High levels of uric acid can also cause a person to develop insulin resistance, which can increase their risk of developing diabetes.

Gout affects over 3 million people in the United States, while around 34 million people in the country have diabetes.

Researchers believe these conditions both have links to insulin resistance.

This article outlines what gout is and explains the link between gout and diabetes.

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Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that causes inflammation and pain in a joint. It often affects one joint at a time, commonly at the base of the big toe.

Excess amounts of uric acid in the body is the main cause of gout — a buildup of uric acid can cause crystals to form, which can become lodged in joints. These crystals cause sudden pain and swelling to occur.

However, if a person has gout, they can have periods where they experience no symptoms. This is called remission. They can then experience times of worsening symptoms, which is known as a flare-up.

Gout and diabetes are two different conditions. However, they share a close relationship with insulin resistance, which plays a key role in both conditions.

What is insulin resistance?

The pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, which helps glucose in the blood enter cells in the muscles, fat, and liver. These cells use glucose for energy.

Glucose mostly comes from the food a person eats. If an individual’s blood glucose levels rise too high, the pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream to lower them.

Insulin resistance occurs when the body’s cells do not respond well to insulin, meaning they do not easily take up glucose from the blood. This can cause a person’s blood glucose levels to become too high.

Diabetes and insulin resistance

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when a person’s blood glucose levels are too high.

This can occur when the body does not create enough insulin or cannot effectively use the insulin that it does create.

Insulin resistance can cause an individual’s blood glucose levels to become too high, increasing their risk of developing diabetes.

Gout and insulin resistance

The buildup of excess uric acid in the body is a common cause of gout.

A 2016 study reports that uric acid buildup can lead to worsened insulin resistance.

This insulin resistance can then increase their risk of diabetes.

If a person has gout, it can increase their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, women who have gout are 71% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than women without gout. The organization also states that men with gout are 22% more likely to develop diabetes than men without gout.

This is because the increased uric acid production due to gout can worsen insulin resistance. This insulin resistance can cause a person’s blood glucose levels to rise, which increases their risk of developing diabetes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state there is some evidence that people with diabetes have an increased risk of developing gout.

People with type 2 diabetes often have hyperuricemia, the main cause of gout.

Gout and diabetes also share a number of risk factors, such as:

  • having obesity
  • eating a diet that is high in fructose
  • alcohol consumption

A person can treat high uric acid levels that cause gout with certain medications.

These can reduce the amount of uric acid that the body produces or improve the kidney’s ability to remove the substance from the body. Both of these approaches can help reduce the chances of a gout flare-up.

However, in some cases, these treatments can cause a flare. This is because a drop in uric acid levels can cause the crystals in the joints to shift.

A person can also treat the flare-up itself and manage the pain it causes. They can use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, and colchicine, an anti-inflammatory drug.

People may also wish to reduce their risk of future flare-ups by making a number of lifestyle choices. This includes:

  • maintaining a moderate weight
  • reducing alcohol intake
  • eating less purine-rich food such as red meat
  • changing medications, such as diuretics, that can increase uric acid levels

Diabetes is a chronic condition that a person has for the rest of their life. However, an individual can manage their diabetes to reduce symptoms and their chances of developing complications.

A person with the condition may take insulin, which helps prevent their blood glucose levels from becoming too high.

They can also inject insulin using an insulin pen. People with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes may also have an insulin pump, a battery-operated device that administers insulin regularly throughout the day.

A person may also take metformin to lower blood glucose levels and make the insulin their body creates more effective.

They may also reduce their symptoms of diabetes and the risk of complications by making various lifestyle changes. These include:

  • monitoring blood glucose levels closely and keeping them at typical levels
  • maintaining a moderate weight
  • eating a nutritious diet
  • being more physically active
  • lowering cholesterol
  • stopping or avoiding smoking

A person with gout should eat a nutritious diet that is low in uric acid. This will help them prevent gout flare-ups and reduce their risk of worsening symptoms.

Additionally, people with the condition should follow the below dietary tips:

Drink plenty of water

Water can help flush uric acid out of a person’s system.

An individual should drink at least eight glasses of nonalcoholic beverages per day. If they experience a flare-up of gout, they should increase the amount they drink to 16 glasses per day.

Avoid beer and other alcohol

Alcohol can increase a person’s risk of gout flare-ups. Beer is also particularly high in purines, which the body converts into uric acid.

With this in mind, individuals should avoid drinking alcohol, especially beer.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, one study found that beer raised uric acid levels by 6.5%. The organization also found that nonalcoholic beer raised uric acid by 4.4%.

Drink milk and consume dairy products

Low fat milk and dairy products can reduce a person’s uric acid levels. This is because the proteins in milk and dairy products promote the excretion of uric acid in urine.

This means consuming dairy products can reduce the risk of a gout flare-up.

Therefore, a person with the condition should include low fat milk and dairy products in their diet.

Drink coffee

Coffee can help prevent recurring gout flare-ups.

One meta-analysis looked at several studies into the consumption of coffee and its effects on gout. The analysis concluded that consuming one cup or more of coffee daily had significant associations with a reduced risk of gout.

Avoid high-purine foods

Purines break down in the body into uric acid.

Excess uric acid from high-purine foods can increase a person’s risk of developing gout or the risk of a flare-up.

People with the condition should therefore avoid foods with high purine content. These include:

  • alcoholic beverages
  • fish, seafood, and shellfish
  • bacon
  • sausage
  • turkey
  • veal
  • venison
  • organ meats, such as liver

Avoid drinking sodas

Fructose is a sugar naturally present in fruits and honey. The body breaks fructose down to release purines, which can increase uric acid levels.

High fructose corn syrup is an artificial sweetener present in many sodas.

Therefore, people with gout should avoid sodas and other products that contain fructose to reduce their risk of a flare-up.

Eat citrus fruits

According to the Arthritis Foundation, vitamin C can decrease a person’s uric acid levels. This can help prevent them from experiencing a gout flare-up.

A person with gout should therefore aim to consume fruit that contains vitamin C.

As many fruits also contain fructose, they can opt for lower-fructose options such as grapefruit, pineapples, oranges, and strawberries.

Eat cherries

Studies have shown that eating cherries, or consuming cherry products, such as cherry juice, can benefit people with gout.

One 2019 study states that cherries feature antioxidant properties and the ability to reduce the inflammatory response to urate crystals.

This means that a person with gout may wish to add cherries and cherry products to their diet.

Learn more about how to prevent and treat gout through diet.

There are several steps that a person can take to reduce their risk of gout and diabetes.

Preventing gout

To help prevent gout, a person could follow these steps:

  • eating a nutritious diet and avoiding foods high in purines
  • avoiding alcohol
  • being physically active and avoiding exercise that put excessive strain on the joints
  • visiting a doctor regularly to discuss treatment plans
  • maintaining a moderate weight

Preventing diabetes

The ways to help prevent diabetes are similar to those to help avoid gout. To lower their risk of developing diabetes, a person should follow these steps:

  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • being physically active
  • eating a nutritious diet
  • drinking less sugary drinks
  • drinking less alcohol
  • quitting or avoiding smoking

If a person experiences symptoms of gout or diabetes, they should consult a doctor as soon as possible.

This is because early diagnosis can help reduce symptoms and reduce the risk of complications, particularly from diabetes.

If a person has gout, they can treat the condition with a number of anti-inflammatory medications.

They may also manage their symptoms with dietary changes, such as avoiding foods with high purines, drinking less alcohol, and drinking more water.

By managing gout and taking medications, a person can reduce their risk of a flare-up and improve their quality of life.

If an individual has diabetes, they can also take medications to manage their condition.

A person with this condition can also make lifestyle changes, such as becoming more active, eating a balanced diet, losing weight, and avoiding alcohol.

With these changes, a person can help manage their diabetes and lead a healthy life.

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that causes inflammation and pain in joints. The condition results from a buildup of uric acid in the body.

Studies show that uric acid buildup has correlations with insulin resistance, which can increase a person’s chances of having diabetes.

Diabetes may also increase the likelihood of developing gout. This is because people with diabetes often develop high levels of uric acid, the main cause of gout.

Individuals can prevent their risk of developing gout and diabetes by eating a nutritious diet, eating fewer foods that are high in purines and sugars, reducing their alcohol intake, becoming more active, and maintaining a moderate weight.