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General Medical Questions
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Question : I recently had an attack of gout. Now my doctor wants me to take drugs for my cholesterol and blood pressure. She says it raises my risk of heart attack. Please explain.
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Howard LeWine, M.D., is chief editor of Internet Publishing, Harvard Health Publications. He is a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. LeWine has been a primary care internist and teacher of internal medicine since 1978.

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March 04, 2014
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Gout is caused by uric acid. It’s a chemical in the blood that can be deposited as crystals in joints. This can result in severe inflammation and pain.

Most, but not all, patients with gout have high uric acid levels. For decades, scientists have tried to figure out if elevated uric acid levels are linked to heart risk. It’s hard to know for sure.

High levels of uric acid are often seen in people that are overweight, eat a lot of fatty meats and also have diabetes. These are the same people likely to have high blood pressure and a high cholesterol level.

So your doctor is right to have focused on your blood pressure and cholesterol level. Treatment will depend on your actual blood pressure and cholesterol numbers. If they are high, drug therapy can lower your risk of heart attack and also your risk of stroke.

A high uric acid blood level only suggests increased heart attack risk. Unlike drugs to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol, drugs to lower uric acid don’t change that risk. The reason to take a drug to lower uric acid is to prevent future gouty attacks.

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