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OBJECTIVE: To identify associations and possible risk factors for gout that may contribute to chronic tophaceous gout in rural and urban districts of North Sulawesi, Indonesia. METHODS: A total of 190 patients with chronic gout and 190 age and sex matched controls were selected from 28 community health centers. Potential risk factors including alcohol consumption, food habits, family history, body weight, related medical conditions, drug use, and laboratory investigations were sought. RESULTS: Alcohol consumption and certain food habits were associated with gout. A positive family history of gout and overweight were also significant risk factors. Renal impairment was found in 86.3% of patients and hyperuricemia in 92.1%. In controls, renal impairment and hyperuricemia were 7.4% and 32.6%, respectively. Patients with hypertension and nephrolithiasis were more at risk of having associated gout. There was a significant association between gout, hyperuricemia, hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, and higher levels of creatinine and urea. There was also a significantly lower level of urine uric acid in gout cases compared with controls. Gouty tophi were found in 91% of these cases with chronic gout. The use of diuretics for treating hypertension, continuing excessive alcohol consumption and purine-rich food habits in untreated gout, and hyperuricemia were associated with chronic and tophaceous gout. Urate-lowering drugs were not available in the community health centers. CONCLUSION: Severe tophaceous gout with deformities and disability is found in North Sulawesi. Prominent risk factors include alcohol, obesity, renal impairment, diet, hypertension, and family history. Improved education about gout seems needed. Urate-lowering drugs are not available in community health centers but are needed, especially in rural areas, as studied here.