Gout: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

Most diseases have a pretty difficult name, some are already hard to pronounce, let alone write down. Fortunately, gout is not one of them, but don’t let this fool you, because gout – also called inflammatory arthritis – is no fun. About 9.2 million Americans are suffering from this very painful form of Arthritis, which makes it a common disease in our country. Everyone can get it, which makes it important to know as much as possible about the joint disease. What causes it, and how can I recognize its symptoms? And of course: is it curable – or at least treatable?

Are There Any Risk Factors?
Before we tell you what causes gout, it’s good to know what it is. Gout is a type of arthritis, which means it’s a joint disease. This type falls under the category of inflammatory arthritis. This means the pain and swelling come from one (or more) joints. Everyone can develop gout, but studies tell us that there are risk factors. For example, men are 3x more likely to have gout than women. Other risk factors are:

  • Menopause
  • Obesity
  • Heart failure
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Animal proteins
  • Alcohol
  • Diuretics

What Causes Gout?
How can these things affect your chances of getting gout? Well, all of this has to do with what causes this joint disease. Gout is caused by uric acid (crystals). The body makes this acid to break down certain chemicals. Normally, this byproduct is eliminated through the kidneys. If the body makes too much uric acid or the kidneys can no longer break down the acid properly, uric acid crystals form in the joints. This is also known as hyperuricemia. The “crystals” have sharp (point-like) ends that cause gout. Side note: not everyone with high uric acid levels in the body has to develop gout. However, in combination with the risk factors mentioned above, there is a chance. Continue reading on the next page and find out how you can recognize you’re suffering from gout.