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Gout Triggers & Causes

What causes gout? 10 contributing factors that put you at risk.

By September 14, 2022No Comments4 min read

Everyone that experiences gout symptoms ask the question, “What causes gout?” Gout is caused by hyperuricemia, a condition in which the body has an excess of uric acid. When your body breaks down purines, which are found in your body and the foods you eat, it produces uric acid. When there is an excess of uric acid in the body, uric acid crystals (monosodium urate) can form in the joints, fluids, and tissues. Gout is not always caused by hyperuricemia, and hyperuricemia without gout symptoms does not necessarily require treatment.

What increases the risk of gout?

The following make it more likely that you will develop hyperuricemia, which causes gout:

Being male:
Sorry guys, but according to experts, men are four to ten times more likely than women to have gout. During menopause, women are more likely to develop gout (estrogen seems to have protective effects).

Many people develop gout for the first time between the ages of 30 and 50, and the risk of gout increases with age. It is estimated that fewer than 3% of men under the age of 50 and nearly 12% of men aged 70 to 79 have experienced at least one episode of gout.

Overweight people are at a higher risk of developing gout. They are also more likely to develop gout when they are younger.

Family History
According to research, certain genes associated with kidney function (SLC2A9 and ABCG2) and gut function (ABCG2) increase the risk of developing gout. These genes may make the body more prone to uric acid accumulation and the formation of uric acid crystals, which leads to gout.

Having certain health conditions, such as:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Inadequate kidney function

Certain medications may increase the likelihood of hyperuricemia and can cause gout attacks. Some common examples of these medications are:

  • Diuretics are also known as water pills.
  • Aspirin in low doses
  • Cyclosporine is an immunosuppressant that is occasionally prescribed to people with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, or who have had
  • an organ transplant.
  • Niacin (nicotinic acid) is a vitamin that is used to prevent and treat vitamin B12 deficiency (pellagra)
  • Teriparatide is a synthetic hormone used in the treatment of osteoporosis.

This is not a comprehensive list. People who take medications or supplements should consult their doctor or pharmacist about how their medications may affect gout risk.

A gout attack is more likely if you drink beer, wine, or liquor. A study of 724 people with gout discovered that consuming 1 to 2 alcoholic drinks increased the likelihood of a flare-up by 36%.

The risk of a gout flare-up is increased by the consumption of alcohol, sugary foods and drinks, meat, and seafood, which are high in purines. Purine-rich foods include red meat, organ meat, and certain types of seafood, such as anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout, and tuna.

Chronic Renal Failure
Chronic renal failure means that the kidneys are no longer fully functional. Gout can develop when the kidneys’ ability to flush out uric acid is impaired.

Injury, surgery, or medical therapy may trigger gout.
Certain events can cause a change in body chemistry, resulting in a gout flare-up. Such events include, but are not limited to, the following

  • Infection
  • Overuse of joints causes repetitive microtrauma.
  • Injuries caused by trauma
  • Surgery
  • Illness
  • Weight loss that is sudden and dramatic

Surprisingly, many people who have gout may never have symptoms again, or at least not for several years. People who have gout symptoms on a regular basis may notice that the episodes become longer and more severe. To avoid future joint damage, gout and its precursor, hyperuricemia, should be treated.