A recent study by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, has looked into the association between age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and gout. Gout is a form of arthritis resulting from inflammation in the joints caused by the build-up of uric acid crystals and is associated with oxidative stress.
The main questions the researchers behind this study were looking to answer were if gout does, in fact, relate to an increased risk of AMD and whether gender or race play a factor. The researchers used data collected between 2006 and 2012 through Medicare in the United States.
Of all the data, the data of 1,684,314 participants were eligible to be included in the study. On average, the participants were aged 65 or older. By the end of the data collection period, 116,097 people had developed incident AMD.
The results showed that gout was an independent risk factor for the development of AMD, increasing the risk of developing AMD by 40 percent. The researchers believe that one possible explanation for the relationship between gout and AMD is that gout is associated with hyperuricemia. Hyperuricemia is an abnormally high level of uric acid in the blood which is related to oxidative stress, an important pathway for AMD.
Further research will be required to fully understand the mechanisms behind the association of gout with an increased risk of AMD, as this study only shows a correlational relationship.
The study, “Gout and the risk of age-related macular degeneration in the elderly,” was published online in PLOSone in July 2018.