For patients with gout, being married appears to increase urate-lowering therapy adherence, according to a study published by Xin Hui Jasmine Chua, Siriwan Lim, Fui Ping Lim, and Yee Nah Anita Lim, in the June 15 edition of Journal of Clinical Nursing, which in an international online journal that serves as the voice of nursing research, theory and practice.

First Of All, What is Urate?

Urate, which is a waste product of too much uric acid buildup in the body, usually contributes to gout. As a waste product, your kidneys typically flush out this acid by passing urine. However, if your kidneys aren’t flushing out enough of this acid or if your body is producing too much, it can lead to the development urate crystals. These sharp deposits can accumulate around your soft tissues and joints, which can encourage the development of gout. Since gout is the most common type of chronic inflammatory arthritis, nearly all patients participate in urate-lowering therapy to treat it.

What is Urate-Lowering Therapy?

This type of therapy is supposed to reduce uric acid levels, which should ease the pain of gout. However, adherence to this therapy among patients is poor because there isn’t enough research out there that shows this method of treatment actually helps with gout. However, Xin Hui Jasmine Chua, R.N., from the National University Hospital in Singapore, and his colleagues conducted a correlation study to provide more insight into this type of treatment.

About the Study

Chua’s study involved a sample of 108 patients in Singapore with gout. Although the study fixated among age, gender and the presence of other diseases that may influence gout treatment, the researchers discovered something unusual. They found that nearly half of participants (at 44.4 percent) were high adherers to urate-lowering therapy, and their marital status showed a significant difference in their medication adherence score. The difference in adherence to urate-lowering therapy among married patients was much higher compared to unmarried patients.

Although further research needs to be conducted to support this finding, this discovery does make sense to the everyday person. If you’re married, it’s likely your spouse is there to remind you to take your medications, and they may reprimand you if you don’t. Thus, this may increase the likelihood of a higher medication adherence score in patients since they are more likely to be in the habit of taking their medications.

Do you have a spouse that reminds you to take your medications? Don’t forget to thank them!