Many people suffer from gout yet they do not know what is gout. Understanding what is gout and its causes is the first step to fighting it.
Gout is a type of arthritis that results from the exceeding amounts of uric acid in the body. It is characterized by painful swelling of one’s joints. Gout most commonly affects the metatarsal-phalangeal joint located at the base of the big toe. The ankles, wrists and knees may also be affected. Also known as the “disease of kings”, is a disease afflicting over 2.1 Americans and accounts for almost 5 percent of all arthritic cases.
What Causes Gout?
The uric acid levels in the body increases when the body produces more uric acid than the body can eliminate. This results in Hyperuricemia, the condition when the body has exceeded the normal uric acid concentration of the body. The excess uric acid can crystallize and deposit in the joints. These crystals cause gout, characterized by pain and swelling in the joints. Excess uric acid can also form kidney stones and tophi formations.
There are many factors that affect the levels of uric acid in our body. The efficiency of the kidneys in filtering and reducing uric acid levels is probably the most important factor. Medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, hyperthyroidism and high blood pressure have been observed to contribute to high uric acid levels.
Genetics also plays a factor in a person’s risk of gout. Some people can have high uric acid levels and not experience any gout symptoms. Other People can have get very severe gout with the same high level of uric acid.
Your diet can also greatly increase or reduce uric acid levels in your body. Purine-rich food such as beans, liver and anchovies are known to increase the amount of uric acid in the body. Alcohol consumption is also a contributor to uric acid increase. Aspirin, an anti-inflammatory drug, can cause an increase in uric acid levels.