The Causes of Gout: What You Need to Know

Gout, a form of arthritis, can be extremely painful. If left untreated, it can also cause permanent joint damage. Fortunately, gout is a very treatable condition. If it’s caught early. Understanding the causes of this condition can help you figure out how much of your joint pain is being caused by external factors like diet, stress, and medication, and how much of it is originating in your body. Read on for a better understanding of gout and its causes.



7 Active Questions

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1

Are there drugs that can help with gout symptoms?

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Yes. After your doctor has diagnosed your symptoms as gout, he or she will likely recommend medication to reduce your uric acid level. Two commonly used drugs for gout are allopurinol and uloric. Your doctor can explain how these drugs work, and any possible side effects. Reports claim that up to 70% of people taking these drugs attain the right level of uric acid in the blood.

2

Can changing my diet help alleviate gout pain?

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In some cases, diet changes can help alleviate gout symptoms. If you eat a diet that is high in seafood, organ meats, red meats, high-fat dairy, high fructose corn syrup, and complex carbohydrates, your food may be worsening your gout symptoms. Removing these foods (and other foods that are high in purines) from your diet can reduce your uric acid level by about 1 mg/dL. If that is enough of a reduction to bring your uric acid level below 6 mg/dL, you may be able to manage your gout with dietary changes alone. (Always check with your doctor first to make sure medication is not needed.)

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How does gout cause permanent damage?

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If gout is left untreated, the friction caused by the crystals in the fluid around your joints can result in damage to bone, cartilage, and other tissues around the joint. Once this damage has occurred, joint pain will remain even after gout symptoms are brought under control.

In addition, too much uric acid in the blood can be an indication that there's a problem with your kidneys. Treating your gout can also prevent permanent kidney damage.

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What can trigger a sudden gout flareup?

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Stress can trigger an attack of gout, so if you are prone to flare-ups, get in the habit of practicing stress management techniques like meditation or yoga. Attempt to remove as many stressors from your life as you can.

Even after your gout is under control, a sudden diet change or an alcohol binge can trigger a flare-up. Once you find a diet that works, stick to it to keep your gout under control.

Injuries and infections can aggravate gout. If you're dealing with a gout flare-up, it could be the result of recent illness or injury.

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Why is this important?

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Gout is a surprisingly common condition. About 8.3 million people are affected. It's crucial to recognize gout in its early stages and take action to get appropriate treatment. If gout is controlled early, permanent damage can be avoided.

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What is gout?

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Gout is a type of arthritis. It usually manifests in the feet first, often in one or both of the big toes. From there, it can spread to the ankles, knees, wrists, hands, and elbows. In a mild case of gout, the sufferer feels a small amount of joint pain. In more severe cases, the joints swell and turn dark red or purple. It may become extremely difficult or impossible to use the hands and feet during a severe flare-up. Gout can affect any number of joints, but it typically affects just one to four joints at a time.

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What causes gout?

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The causes of some kinds of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, are not completely understood. Gout, on the other hand, is caused by a very specific problem: too much uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia). Uric acid is formed from purines, which are made naturally by the human body, and can also be present in the food we eat. A healthy uric acid blood level is less than 6 mg/dL, and most people's bodies can maintain this level.

When a human's uric acid level goes above 6 mg/dL; hard crystals may form in the fluid surrounding the joints (the synovial fluid). These crystals cause the joint pain, swelling, and inflammation associated with gout.

There are two kinds of gout: primary gout and secondary gout. Primary gout has a hereditary component and often runs in families. 90% of primary gout suffers are male. Secondary gout is the result of a condition or a medication that affects metabolism. Certain chemotherapy drugs are often associated with secondary gout. Conditions that may bring on secondary gout include Acidosis, ketosis, alcoholism, diabetes, atherosclerosis, kidney disease, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, obesity, and sickle cell anemia.



How to Recognize the Symptoms of Gout

Think you can't get gout? Think again. That painful joint in your foot might not be from stubbing your toe. It could be gout, a serious condition...

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