What Causes Gout?

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Gout is the result of a buildup of uric acid in the body that causes needle-like deposits of urate crystals in the soft tissues or joints in the body, according to the American College of Rheumatology. This condition is often known as the disease of kings because it is associated with an overindulgence in certain foods and beverages. Some medications are also associated with gout attacks.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases notes that genetics are a risk factor for gout, so people with a family history of the condition are most likely to suffer from gout. Being overweight, male and an adult are also risk factors for gout. For this reason, maintaining a healthy weight through a good diet and exercise program is vital for anyone who might suffer from gout. People who are stricken with gout or predisposed to gout should eat a healthy diet that is low in purines. Scallops, game meat, sweetbreads, sardines, mushrooms, liver, brains and asparagus are some examples of high-purine foods.

The Arthritis Foundation says that gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis. Urate deposits in the joints and soft tissues cause severe pain in a person who is suffering from a gout attack. The pain is usually most severe from 12 to 24 hours after onset of the attack. A gout attack can last up to two weeks.

At the sudden onset of gout, a physician may prescribe large doses of one or more medication, such as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug or corticosteriods, to reduce pain and swelling, states WebMD. Long-term medications such as uricosuric agents or xanthine oxidase inhibitors may also be prescribed. A diet that limits the intake of purines can help control the amount of uric acid in the bloodstream. Overweight people tend to experience gout more than others, so a diet low in fat may help a patient lose weight and control their symptoms.