What causes gout?


Gout occurs when uric acid, a normal waste product, builds up in your bloodstream and forms urate crystals in a joint. 

Your body makes uric acid when it breaks down purines, a substance found in your body and in some foods. Uric acid normally dissolves in your blood, is processed by your kidneys, and leaves your body in urine. 

Uric Acid

If your body produces too much uric acid or your kidneys can’t clear it out, the acid will build up in your blood. This is called hyperuricemia.

Most people with high levels of uric acid do not get gout. So other things, like your genes, might be involved in whether or not you get gout.

Similar attacks to gout can be caused by a condition called pseudogout (or acute calcium pyrophosphate arthritis). In this case, crystals of calcium (rather than urate) are deposited in joint cartilage and then shed into the joint space.

This is likely to affect your knees and other joints more than the big toe. Pseudogout is most common in people with osteoarthritis.

Do I have a higher risk of getting gout?

  • You’re more likely to have a gout attack if you:
  • are male
  • have a family history of gout
  • have high levels of uric acid in your blood
  • drink too much alcohol (particularly beer)
  • eat a diet high in purines such as meat, sweetbreads, offal, shellfish, and fructose

People who are overweight or obese, who take diuretics, or have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol – these conditions can mean that their kidneys are less able to flush out the urates – should not fast.

Symptoms of a gout attack include:

  • intense joint pain
  • joint swelling
  • skin over the joint may look red and shiny 
  • affected joint may be hot to touch
  • tophi (lumps of crystals that form under the skin) may occur in people who have repeated attacks.

Gout is a common form of arthritis characterized by repeated attacks of extreme joint pain, swelling, and redness.

While most other types of arthritis develop slowly, an attack of gout usually happens suddenly, often overnight. 

The most commonly affected joint is the big toe, but gout may be experienced in the feet, ankles and knees, elbows, wrists, and fingers. 

Arthritis

Gout is a common form of arthritis that can cause extreme joint pain, swelling, and redness. It is often referred to as the “disease of kings” because it was more common among wealthy people who could afford rich foods and alcohol.

While most other types of arthritis develop slowly over time, an attack of gout usually happens suddenly, often overnight.

The most commonly affected joint is the big toe, but gout can also be experienced in the feet, ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, and fingers. There is currently no cure for gout, but there are treatments available that can help relieve symptoms and prevent future attacks.

If you are experiencing symptoms of gout, it is important to see a doctor right away so that you can get the appropriate treatment. Diagnosis of gout starts with a medical history and physical exam.

Your doctor may also run certain blood tests to identify elevated levels of uric acid in your blood or other factors that may contribute to gout, such as hyperparathyroidism, leukemia, lead poisoning, drugs like diuretics (water

Gout is a condition that can be very painful. It is a type of arthritis that usually affects the big toe, but it can also affect other joints in the body.

The pain and swelling associated with gout can make everyday activities very difficult. There is no cure for gout, but there are treatments that can help to control the symptoms. 

What is gout?

Gout is a condition where crystals of sodium urate form in and around the joints. These crystals cause inflammation and irritation that leads to intense pain, swelling, and redness of the affected area.

It most commonly affects the big toe but can also affect other areas such as the foot, ankle, knee, elbow, wrist, and finger. Gout is a type of arthritis that can cause debilitating pain and it often affects people who are middle-aged or older.

Gout symptoms appear suddenly, often overnight, and include intense pain, swelling, redness, stiffness, and warmth in the affected joint. If gout symptoms are not treated right away it can lead to long-term damage.

Where Does Gout Strike?

Gout usually occurs in only one joint at a time, but it can affect multiple joints throughout the body.

Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in your blood. Uric acid is produced naturally during the process of breaking down purines which are found in certain foods and drinks.

Medicine Side Affects Can Affect Gout

It is also produced when your body breaks down certain medicines. Gout can run in families and it is more common among men than women. Genetics may be responsible for gout because up to 80% of cases are caused by inherited genes.

Other factors such as aging, obesity, and a diet high in purine-rich foods increase your risk of developing gout.

Major Impact on Daily Life

Gout can have a major impact on your daily life. In the most serious cases it can lead to disability and may need ongoing treatment. However, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing gout and help alleviate the effects when you do have an attack.

The main goal of treatment is to reduce pain and swelling and avoid further joint damage. A drug called colchicine can be used to treat an acute gout attack during the first few days.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs can also help relieve pain and inflammation but they may not be suitable if you have a history of stomach ulcers or heart problems. Corticosteroids can be used to treat inflammation in some severe cases.

Urate lowering drug therapy is used to prevent recurring attacks of gout by reducing levels of uric acid in the blood. These drugs include allopurinol, febuxostat, and probenecid. When you first start taking these medications it may cause mild side effects such as headache, nausea, loss of appetite or diarrhea.

What are Gout Symptoms?

There are several types of gout attacks. The classic acute attack is sudden and lasts for about 3-10 days. Symptoms often develop during sleep and include pain, swelling, stiffness, and warmth in the affected joint.

Other symptoms may include fatigue, fever, malaise, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

Symptoms usually appear in the big toe but can also develop in other joints such as the instep, instep ligament, ankles, and feet. The affected joints may be slightly red and swollen and you may notice a white chalky deposit across the surface.

A tophus is a lump that forms around the edge of the involved joint if gout has been developing for a long time.

The chronic form of gout develops over months or years and it involves repeated acute attacks with less than 3 days between each attack. It often affects many joints throughout the body at once which makes living with this condition very difficult.

Gout can lead to permanent damage within your joints if it’s not treated properly.

What causes gout?

Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is produced when your body breaks down purines which are found in certain foods and drinks. Your body also produces uric acid when you break down certain medicines.

Gout can run in families because inherited genes may be responsible for this condition. Other factors such as aging, obesity, and a diet that is high in purine-rich foods increase your risk of developing gout.

Gout usually develops due to one or more factors including:

• Eating large amounts of food with purines every day e.g meat, shellfish, beans, yeast extracts, peas, etc.

• Having high levels of uric acid in your body already.

• Using certain medicines or having conditions that affect how your kidneys work e.g gouty arthritis, heart failure, kidney stones etc .

How is gout diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask you about any symptoms you are experiencing and may examine the affected joint to see if it’s swollen with redness and warmth which can help with the diagnosis.

They may also prescribe blood tests to check for high levels of uric acid in your blood before making a final diagnosis. Other tests such as an ultrasound scan or MRI imaging may be used to rule out other conditions causing your symptoms. What treatment is available?

The main goal of treatment is to reduce pain and inflammation and avoid further damage to the involved joints. Your doctor will prescribe medication to take by mouth or give through a needle into your vein if they think you have an acute attack.

The most commonly prescribed medications for gout include:

• Colchicines

• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs such as diclofenac, aspirin & ibuprofen

• Corticosteroids e.g dexamethasone which can be injected directly into affected joints where necessary.

These medications work by helping to reduce inflammation and pain caused by uric acid crystals that accumulate in a joint during a gout attack.

It’s important not to mix these drugs with ‘purine containing’ treatments as they can make your existing gout worse.

These medications are not used long term as they can cause severe side effects such as stomach ulcers, liver damage, and kidney failure.

Your doctor may prescribe medication to take by mouth or give through a needle into your vein if you have repeated acute attacks or chronic gout with too many joints affected to treat normally.

Medications that are commonly prescribed include:

• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) e.g ibuprofen , diclofenac, aspirin & indomethacin

• Corticosteroids e.g dexamethasone

• Colchicines can help prevent further episodes of gout once the acute attack has settled.

• Angiotensin-converting enzyme