I've heard that diuretics and gout are somehow linked. When taken for high blood pressure, do diuretics ever cause gout attacks?

Answers from Scott C. Litin, M.D.

Yes. Taking diuretics may raise uric acid levels in your blood (hyperuricemia). In some people, over time, hyperuricemia leads to gout. For this reason, people with a history of gout are frequently advised to avoid diuretics.

Many medications other than diuretics are available to control blood pressure. With other classes of blood pressure medications, it's usually possible to control high blood pressure without triggering gout or gout flares.

Also, many of the measures you take to reduce blood pressure have the added benefit of lowering uric acid. These measures include:

  • Eating a healthy diet, with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and reduced servings of meat and whole-fat dairy products
  • Drinking little to no alcohol
  • Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight based on your body mass index
Nov. 15, 2011