Gout could have genetic link

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SCIENTISTS have shed light on why some people are more susceptible to gout than others.

A study has identified 18 new genetic variations that increase levels of uric acid in the blood, which is the main cause of the disease.

High levels of uric acid form small crystals in joints and tissues, causing pain and swelling, are the main symptoms of the condition once known as the “disease of kings”.

Understanding how common genetic variants increase uric acid in the blood may lead to improvements in the treatment and prevention of the disease.

The international team of researchers, including scientists from Edinburgh University, say gout is becoming more common in the developed world.

They attribute its rise in part to increasing levels of obesity and an ageing population.

This condition affects at least one in 70 adults in the UK, with approximately 900,000 people suffering at least one attack of gout in their lifetime.