Gout is one of the most common issues these days and while there are ways to avoid it or overcome it, the truth is most people learn to live with it. Most people learn to prevent flareups and deal with them should they occur. Whether it comes to yourself or a friend, you probably ask yourself – how do you get gout? At the end of the day, you also want to know how to prevent it or what caused it initially.
Causes of gout
Gout has a very specific cause. It is basically caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood. When there is too much of it, it goes around joints. It accumulates there and it turns into tiny urate crystals. These crystals are like minuscule pieces of glass. As a direct consequence of this accumulation, you will barely be able to use the affected joints.
Inflammation is the first thing occurring with gout. But as these crystals are moved around, they cause intense painful sensations. This is what the gout attack is about. Now, the body naturally produces uric acid as a direct consequence of breaking purines down. These substances are also throughout the body and mostly taken from your diet.
How do you get gout?
So, how do you get gout after all? Having lots of beer and purine rich foods might be the most popular issue. But then, there are people who never bother about what they eat or drink and they never experience gout. This is because there are a few risk factors to take in consideration and each of them could increase the risk of developing the affection.
Your long-term diet will show signs of problems later on. If you eat shellfish and red meat on a regular basis or you drink sweet beverages, chances are you will develop gout at some point or another. It is only a matter of time. Having a beer on a regular basis – such as a few bottles after work will also lead to gout in the long run.
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To most people, the cause of gout is a high alcohol intake. Alcoholic beverages bring purines into your body and unfortunately, the body struggles to eliminate all of them. Beer is the most harmful alcoholic beverage.
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3. Your weight
Your weight is also a risk factor when trying to prevent or deal with gout. The more you weigh, the more uric acid your body will produce. At the same time, kidneys are constantly under pressure, so eliminating all the uric acid will be a challenge. In other words, overweight individuals are more likely to develop gout at some point or another.
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4. Medical conditions
Certain medical conditions are just as harmful. Gout is not always a disease by itself, but it can also be a complication associated with other affections. For example, high blood pressure can lead to gout if left untreated for too long. Then, conditions like kidney diseases, heart affections, diabetes or metabolic syndromes may cause gout too.
On the same note, gout can be caused by various medications as well. For example, you could get treated by something else. The medications you take may have secondary reactions and gout could be among them. It is less likely to occur overnight, but it will most likely show up in the long run if you go on with the treatment.
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Aspirin taken in low doses on a regular basis is likely to cause gout overtime. Then, you know already that hypertension could increase the risk of gout, but at the same time, medications for hypertension can be just as problematic. Drugs like thiazide diuretics, beta blockers and ACE inhibitors will lead to gout by increasing the levels of uric acid.
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7. Organ transplants
Those who have been through organ transplants will require anti-rejection drugs too. Such drugs will inevitably add to the levels of uric acid. Overtime, they could represent the main cause behind gout. However, as you can see in such of these affections, gout looks like the least harmful side effect. In other words, you would rather deal with gout than with an unsuccessful organ transplant.
Unsure about your family? Ask family members about gout – but mostly your parents or grandparents. Gout is genetically inherited too – or at least the risk. If other people in your extended family have had to deal with gout, you are more likely to develop it as well. Check with uncles, aunts, cousins and so on – you will be surprised.
Surprisingly for some, gout is more common in men than in women. How come? Simple – women naturally have lower levels of uric acid than men. But then, there is a moment when uric acid levels skyrocket and can match the ones in men – after menopause. Once the process is over, uric acid levels will go much higher.
Before menopause, gout is more likely to affect men – most men will develop it between 30 and 50 years old. Women develop these signs after menopause.
10. Trauma or a surgery
Last, but not least, you can also get gout after a trauma or a surgery. The issue is more common if you have already had gout before. In other words, you are more likely to experience a flareup or just a random attack. In some individuals, even a vaccine can trigger a flareup.
Bottom line, how do you get gout? The affection is most commonly associated with your diet, but then, there are plenty of risk factors out there. Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood. The bad news is there are plenty of things that can increase uric acid levels, so there are lots of potential causes.
Furthermore, there are things you simply cannot control – such as your genetic inheritance.
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