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Seasonality of gout?


Clinical bottom line

There is some evidence from different parts of the world that diagnosis of gout occurs more frequently in the Spring in the northern hemisphere.


N Schesinger et al. Acute gouty arthritis is seasonal. Journal of Rheumatology 1998 25: 342-344.

M Gallerani et al. Seasonal variation in the onset of acute microcrystalline arthritis. Rheumatology 1999 38: 1003-1006.


These studies took place in Philadelphia, USA, and Ferrara, Italy, both in the early-to-mid 1990s. In each case the number of diagnoses of gout (clinical, history, laboratory, examination) were examined for the seasons of the year. The numbers were 359 patients in Philadelphia and 210 in Ferrara.


In both cases there was a significant preponderance of diagnosis in the Spring (March, April, May).

Figure 1: Seasonality of gout diagnosis in Italy and the USA


There are some other references to the seasonality of gout diagnosis. The reason for it is unknown, though there are some reports about circannual changes in serum uric acid. The interesting question is what is the peak month for diagnosis in the southern hemisphere?