Occupational exposure to inorganic dust such as asbestos, silica and coal was associated with a significant increase in gout risk in a large cohort study from Sweden, according to findings presented at the EULAR Annual Congress.
“This is the first time occupational exposure to inorganic dust has been shown to be associated with the development of gout,” Valgerdur Sigurdardottir, MD, of the department of rheumatology and inflammation research at the University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden, said in a press release.
Sigurdardottir and colleagues noted previous associations with rheumatic diseases among individuals exposed to inorganic dust from working as cleaners and maintenance staff, plumbers, electricians, car fitters, welders and machinists. They hoped to draw out a specific association with gout by evaluating inorganic dust exposure alongside more established gout risk factors such as alcohol use and obesity. Other potential confounders that underwent analysis included psoriasis, renal disease and diuretic treatment.
Study data were culled from the population-based health care database of the Western Swedish Health Care Region. The researchers analyzed outcomes for 6,120 individuals diagnosed with gout between 2006 and 2012, and 25,074 controls. Each case-patient was matched with up to five controls based on age, gender and place of residence.
Univariate analysis showed a significant association between gout and occupational exposure to inorganic dust for the full cohort (OR = 1.1; 95% CI, 1.04-1.17). While this association was slightly reduced on multivariable analysis for the full cohort (OR = 1.07; 95% CI, 0.99-1.14), the risk remained significant among women (OR = 1.27; 95% CI, 1.07-1.51).
As expected, alcohol use was significantly associated with gout incidence in both the univariable (OR = 2.37; 95% CI, 2.04-2.74) and multivariable (OR = 2.26; 95% CI, 1.94-2.62) analyses. Similarly, obesity carried a more than threefold risk for gout in both the univariable (OR = 3.81; 95% CI, 3.42-4.26) and multivariable (OR = 3.75; 95% CI, 3.36-4.19) analyses.
“Further study is needed to understand the dangers of exposure to inorganic dust in relation to gout and other inflammatory rheumatic diseases,” Sigurdardottir said. – by Rob Volansky
Sigurdardottir V, et al. OP0054. Presented at: EULAR Annual Congress; June 12-15; Madrid, Spain.
Disclosure: Sigurdardottir reports no relevant financial disclosures.