GOUT : Facts to Know !


Gout can develop when your body produces too much uric acid or when it does not eliminate enough of it. When the levels of uric acid in your blood are too high, it is called hyperuricemia.

The Role of Uric Acid

Uric acid is produced when your body breaks down purines, which are substances naturally found in your body, as well as in protein-rich foods. At normal levels in your blood, uric acid is a powerful antioxidant and does not cause any damage. The body keeps uric acid at a set level by excreting it through the kidneys and in urine.

It is possible to have hyperuricemia and not develop gout. About two-thirds of people with elevated uric acid levels never have gout attacks. It is not known why some people do not react to abnormally high levels of uric acid.

Risk Factors

There are several factors that put people at greater risk for developing hyperuricemia and gout.

Gender and age. Gout is more common in men than in women and hits men at a younger age. Men usually develop gout between the ages of 30 and 45. Women do not typically develop gout until after menopause, between the ages of 55 and 70.

Family history. If other members of your family have had gout, you are at greater risk for the disease.

Other medical problems. Certain health conditions can cause higher levels of uric acid in the blood. These include high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, and some types of anemias.

Medications. Diuretics (water pills) used to treat hypertension and heart disease can increase uric acid levels, and so can aspirin. Cyclosporine, a medication that suppresses the immune system and is used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs, can also make you more likely to develop gout.

Lifestyle. Being overweight and drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk for gout.

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