Gout Risk Lower for Coffee Drinkers
Gout isnt that common in younger women, but once you pass the menopause, it can creep up on you. The ailment is characterized by a buildup of uric acid that forms needlelike crystals in the blood. Its rare in younger women but occurs in about one in 20 postmenopausal women. Its intermittent in the early stages mostly affects the feet, but it can get worse when untreated.
"The pain is described as one of the most severe pains a human being experiences, like a breaking bone. You can't walk and even the weight of a bed sheet is not bearable," lead author, Dr. Hyon Choi of Boston University's School of Medicine, told Reuters Health.
Previous research demonstrated drinking coffee lowers gout risk for men. He and his colleagues wanted to see if the same held true in women, especially older women who, after menopause, lose the uric-acid clearing benefits of estrogen.
The Choi team looked for cases of gout in 89,433 women enrolled in the large and long-term Nurses' Health Study that began in 1976. The researchers also analyzed the lifestyles, diet, and beverage consumption habits of the women documented since 1980 through questionnaires filled out by study participants every two to four years.
After statistically controlling for other gout risk factors such as body-fat mass, alcohol consumption, use of diuretics and dairy intake, they found that a lifetime of drinking coffee appeared to make a significant difference in the risk of a first attack of gout.
"The higher the consumption level, the lower the risk," Choi said.
"The risk of gout was 22 percent lower with coffee intake of 1-3 cups a day and 57% lower with a coffee intake of more than 4 cups a day" compared to those with no coffee consumption, the authors wrote in the August 25 issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.