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What triggers a gout attack?

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Quick Answer

Several health conditions, such as joint injury, or diet choices, such as drinking fructose-sweetened soft drinks, can trigger a gout attack, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Anything that causes a rise in uric acid can create gout symptoms.

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Full Answer

Painful gout attacks can be brought on by consuming particular foods that are high in uric acid, Arthritis Foundation states. Eating large portions of foods high in purines, such as red meat, organ meat and shellfish may trigger an attack. Drinking too much alcohol or soft drinks with fructose or fasting can also cause a uric acid spike.

Dehydration can increase uric acid levels, reports Arthritis Foundation. Certain diuretics prescribed for leg swelling, heart failure and high blood pressure can produce high levels of uric acid. Severe illness, surgery, chemotherapy, infection and injury to the joints can also cause a gout attack.

Some lifestyle changes that can prevent gout attacks include regular exercise and keeping the body at a healthy weight, Mayo Clinic states. Medication to prevent gout flare-ups is currently the most effective prevention.

Gout is a joint disease caused by crystals formed by an overabundance of uric acid, which breaks down purines in the body, Mayo Clinic says. Usually uric acid washes out of the body through the kidneys, but in gout patients too much uric acid is produced. A sudden increase in uric acid forms sharp crystals in the joints, causing a burning pain.

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