How Uric Acid Causes Gout
Understanding What Causes Gout
For many people, gout means one thing: PAIN. Some people with gout describe the pain of an attack as so excruciating that they cringe at the thought of putting a sheet over their foot at night, never mind putting on their shoes and walking around during the day. But many people don’t know what actually causes gout pain in the first place.
Gout is a painful form of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid. This uric acid buildup is also known as hyperuricemia (HI-per-yu-ri-SEEM-ee-uh), the medical name for high uric acid in your blood. If you have gout, high uric acid can form crystals in your joints. When that happens, it can lead to inflammation that causes extremely painful gout attacks.
High Uric Acid: The Root Cause of Gout
Everyone has uric acid in his or her body. It comes from substances called purines. Most uric acid comes from purines made naturally in your body. The rest comes from purines in your diet. Learn more about diet and purines
Most uric acid comes from purines made naturally by the body
If your body produces too much uric acid and/or your kidneys have trouble getting rid of it, uric acid builds up.
For Gout, Help Control the Root Cause by Lowering Uric Acid
If you have gout, high uric acid buildup can lead to more attacks. To help reduce future gout attacks, it’s important to lower your uric acid to a healthy level
(less than 6 mg/dL).
Changing Your Diet May Not Be Enough
Keep in mind that while limiting or cutting out alcohol and certain foods that are high in purines is important, that alone may not be enough to get rid of the buildup of uric acid and help reduce future gout attacks.
And, in most cases, a strict low-purine diet has been shown to reduce uric acid levels by about 1 mg/dL.
Learn about a treatment option for gout patients that helps lower uric acid levels.
What Triggers Gout Attacks?
It is hard to say exactly what triggers a gout attack. They sometimes occur for no apparent reason. . .other times, something may seem to trigger the attack. Gout attacks may be triggered by alcohol, certain medicines, another illness, stressful events, or other factors.
Other known gout triggers include:
- Joint injury
- Eating too much of certain foods
- Crash diets
- Rapid lowering of uric acid levels with uric acid-lowering medicines
- Some cancer treatments
Still Not Convinced?
More on why lowering uric acid levels makes a difference for adults with gout
Once the pain and swelling of your attack passes, you probably want to forget about it as soon as possible . . .but that’s not the best idea. Once you have a gout attack, you may not have another attack for months or even years. But very few people (only 7%) just have a single gout attack; most people experience a second attack within 6 months to 2 years of the first. Over time, gout attacks can become more frequent and severe, last longer, and affect one or more joints. That’s why keeping your uric acid level low (less than 6 mg/dL) is the goal for long-term management of gout.
Next: Two-Part Treatment Plan for Gout >