These Factors Contribute to the Development of Gout

Gout is a chronic and progressive disease due to a build-up of uric acid in the blood. Besides the faulty metabolism of uric acid – which results in elevated levels of uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia)-, a number of risk factors also contribute to the development of gout.

  1. Family history / Genetics. The tendency of developing gout and elevated blood uric acid level (hyperuricemia) is often inherited. You may have higher risk of gout, if other members of your family have had the disease. Up to 18% of people with gout have a family history of the disease. They may inherit the abnormality in handling uric acid or a defective protein (enzyme) that interferes with the way the body breaks down purines.
  2. Obesity. Being overweight increases the risk of gout. It is because more tissue available for turnover or breakdown, which leads to excess uric acid production. Children who are obese may have a higher risk for gout as they grow up.
  3. Excessive alcohol intake. Alcohol can lead to hyperuricemia since it provides an additional dietary source of purines, and thus intensifies the production of uric acid in the body. Alcohol also interferes with the kidneys’ ability to excrete uric acid. Among alcoholic beverages, beer is the one that most strongly linked with gout. Moderate wine consumption is tolerable since it does not appear to increase the risk of developing gout.
  1. Sex and age. Gout is more common in men than in women, because women tend to have lower uric acid levels than men do. In males, uric acid levels rise substantially at puberty. While women generally develop signs and symptoms of gout after menopause. In this phase, women’s uric acid levels approach those of men. It also means that men are more likely to develop gout earlier than women. Gout usually occurs in middle-aged men (peaking in the mid-40s) who are associated with obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and heavy alcohol intake. Gout can also first develop in older people, when it occurs equally in men and women (commonly at age 60). In this age group gout is most associated with kidney problems and diuretics. Gout in children is rare, except for those with inherited genetic disorders that cause hyperuricemia.
  2. Bad Diet. Consuming too much purine-rich foods, such as meat and seafood, can significantly increase the risk of gout. Interestingly, purine-rich vegetables are considered less harmful and may not increase gout risk.
  3. Lead exposure. Exposure to lead in the environment can cause gout. A 2002 study suggested that persistent low-level exposure to lead may also increase the risk for gout.
  4. Certain medical conditions. Certain diseases, like hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland), leukemia, lymphoma, psoriasis, abnormal kidney function, and high blood pressure, can increase your risk of developing gout. While certain conditions like dehydration, fever, recent surgery, excessive eating, heavy alcohol intake, and injury to the joint can precipitate acute gout attacks.
  5. Certain medications. Certain types of drugs can cause elevated uric acid levels in the blood, reduce the body’s ability to remove uric acid, and lead to gout. These include: diuretics (taken to eliminate excess fluid from the body), salycilates (or anti-inflammatory drugs made from salicylic acid, such as aspirin; cyclosporine (an immunosuppressant)


Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *