What is the Connection Between Gout and Diabetes?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2016
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Gout and diabetes are closely linked conditions, although they are medically different. Having one condition elevates the risk of developing the other. While the mechanism that causes gout in diabetic patients is well understood, the link between having gout and developing diabetes is less clear, although a 2008 study in Britain showed that after all other risk factors were eliminated, men with gout were at increased risk of developing type II diabetes later in life.

Gout is a disease of the joints that has been present in human populations for thousands of years. In people with gout, the body retains uric acid crystals and they build up in the joints, particularly the big toe, causing pain and inflammation. Diabetes is an umbrella term for a family of related metabolic conditions, also ancient in origin. The condition involved in the gout and diabetes link is type II diabetes, where the body does not produce enough insulin or does not respond to insulin. While these conditions may not seem related at first glance, the diseases have a long history of interconnection.


In patients with type II diabetes, uric acid levels in the blood can rise. Because diabetes contributes to poor circulation, the uric acid can build up in the extremities and gravitate to the joints, causing gout. Having diabetes can cause gout if the diabetes is poorly controlled. Patients with diabetes who want to avoid gout and other potential complications of diabetes must monitor their blood sugar levels carefully and be aggressive about treating their condition. Regular visits to a diabetes specialist are recommended so patients can be evaluated for early signs of complications.

Gout and diabetes are also linked in the other direction; having gout appears to put people at increased risk for developing diabetes. The reason for this is not clearly known. It may be due to contributing factors to gout like diet that have also been known to cause diabetes, or due to a link between other metabolic disorders and gout. Patients with gout are less likely to develop diabetes if they manage their gout carefully and follow recommended treatment regimens.

Many conditions, like gout and diabetes, appear unlinked on the surface but are actually closely related. Researching these links is important for management, diagnosis, and treatment of disease and understanding how some conditions elevate the risk of others can also allow patients to be on the lookout for early warning signs.


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Post 3

@alisha-- I personally think that both gout and diabetes are a result of too much uric acid production in the body or the inability to get rid of excess uric acid.

I've reached this conclusion because doctors say that high uric acid in the blood is an indicator of diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes. High uric acid is also what causes crystallization and gout.

So they are related but probably because both are triggered by high uric acid levels.

Post 2

I've had type one diabetes for over 30 years and I had a bad case of gout recently on my right toe. I took my medications and it has passed now but it was a very unpleasant time for me. I had a lot of pain and my toe looked horribly red and swollen. I also couldn't walk properly for a while.

The reason I looked up the connection between gout and diabetes is because the medication that I used for gout cause huge increases in my blood sugar and I had to increase my insulin while I was on them. I was not expecting to read about an actual connection between them cause-wise though.

But it does make sense now. I guess no matter how hard one tries to control blood sugar, the main problem with diabetes which is poor circulation causes complications along the way sooner or later. I just hope I don't get gout again.

Post 1

I'm not entirely convinced about gout causing diabetes yet but I do believe that diabetes causes gout and other arthritic conditions.

I have diabetes and I also have chronic arthritis pain in my feet and ankles. The pains in my feet started around the same time my symptoms for type 2 diabetes started. And once I was diagnosed and started getting insulin, the pain has moderately reduced even though it hasn't disappeared altogether. I believe my arthritis is caused by my diabetes.

I know gout is a little different than my condition because it comes as arthritis attacks rather than being a chronic condition. But still, it's the same circumstances that are causing it.

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