Read on to know all about Gout and its causes.
What Is Gout & Causes of Gout
Gout disease is a type of arthritis with a painful inflammation of the joints, especially swelling of the toe. The swelling is caused by the buildup of sharp uric acid crystals. The word ‘gout’ was derived from the Latin word “gutta” and the French word “gote,” both meaning “a drop.” This is due to the increased levels of uric acid in the blood. Usually uric acid is passed out of the body with urine or stools. But in some uric acid level is higher in blood and it starts accumulating to form crystals. These crystals get collected in joints causing inflammation, swelling, pain etc. This condition is called Gout.
The increase in uric acid can be due to many biological conditions, food habits and other medical conditions. Men are likely to develop gout due to uric acid formation more during the puberty while women experience the rise in their uric acid levels during menopause. This explains why symptoms start later in women than in men. But it’s not necessary that people with high uric acid level have crystals or gout and even people with normal uric acid levels are also attacked by Gout. But generally, higher the uric acid level, greater the chance of developing Gout.
What are the causes of gout?
One of the causes of gout can be due to uric acid accumulation in blood. This may be caused due to biological conditions, eating habits or medicinal or physical conditions. Uric acid is normally filtered out by the kidneys, but in the gout prone people, if the body is producing too much uric acid, the kidneys function normally but fail to pass out enough uric acid. This causes a rise in the uric acid level in the blood (hyperuricemia), and urate crystals are built up around the joints. This causes inflammation and severe pain. This condition may rise with food habits or lack of Vitamin C in the food. Some medicines such as Aspirin, bendroflumethiazide and some chemotherapy medicines also alter the uric acid level. The various conditions that cause uric acid imbalance in the body are as follows.
When the human body breaks down chemicals called purines it produces uric acid. Purines can be found naturally in your body, as well as in food, such as organ meats, anchovies, asparagus, mushrooms, and herring. Surprisingly, hyperuricemia is commonly found in many people who never develop gout. Scientists are not completely sure what causes hyperuricemia. There is definitely a genetic factor because a person who has close relatives with hyperuricemia is more likely to develop it himself.
Other causes of gout
Conditions or diseases like obesity, psoriasis, tumors, myeloma, hemolytic anemia, hypothyroidism, surgery, Kelley-Seegmiller syndrome, Lesch-Nyhan syndrome etc can cause uric acid crystal formation which are one of the causes of gout.
Food habits like seafood with high purine content, meat organs, heavy alcohol consumption, especially beer, extremely low calorie diets, sweetened high fructose beverages (females who regularly consume such beverages are 74% more likely to develop gout, compared to women who consume such drinks once a month) researchers from Boston University School of Medicine reported in JAMA (November 2010 issue).
Green vegetables such as Asparagus, cauliflower, spinach and mushrooms are also to be avoided.
Medicines intake such as regular niacin use, regular use of diuretic medicines, medicines taken by transplant patients, such as cyclosporine, fast weight loss, chronic kidney disease, hypertension (high blood pressure) are also most likely to develop these needle shaped uric acid crystals.