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Call to combine gout and diabetes testing

Call to combine gout and diabetes testing

New Zealand has joined forces with Diabetes New Zealand to call for uric acid testing for gout to be included alongside blood sugar tests.

High levels of uric acid in the blood can cause painful gout attacks and lead to long term joint damage and disability if left untreated. Gout is more common in New Zealand than anywhere else in the world with very high rates in Māori and Pacific men. The disease is closely associated with diabetes and heart disease.

A simple test for uric acid levels could be carried out along with blood pressure and blood sugar tests, says Arthritis New Zealand’s CEO, Sandra Kirby.

“We would like uric acid testing to become a key government target, especially in high-risk areas like South Auckland, the East Coast and Northland. We’re not asking for new drugs or lots of extra funding for this. Screening leads to better diagnosis and treatment, which would have a huge impact on Māori and Pacific communities,” she said.

One study showed that a quarter of those with gout also had diabetes, rising to a third for Māori, Pacific and Asian people. Forty percent of all those with gout also had either diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease, with nearly one in ten having all three conditions.

Diabetes New Zealand CEO Steve Crew said it made sense for routine monitoring of uric acid levels to be carried out alongside blood sugar monitoring, given the close association between gout and diabetes.

“These diseases occur together for many patients. Screening for comorbidities like gout and diabetes would help us achieve better outcomes for Māori and Pacific people,” he said.

The call for gout screening is part of Arthritis New Zealand’s election manifesto, among other recommendations to improve the lives of those living with arthritis. For more on the manifesto, see

Arthritis New Zealand aims to improve the life of every person affected by arthritis. We are a national charity focused on raising awareness, advocating for those with arthritis and providing advice and support. For more information, phone the helpline 0800 663 463, find us on Facebook or visit


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