10 Little Known Facts About Gout

  • Anyone who has waken-up in the middle of the night with a severely painful gout attack will know that this disease is no fun. Gout is a disease in which tiny crystals (urate crystals) deposit in all the wrong places like joints and soft tissue. The quintessential gout picture is a swollen, big, red toe. However, many joints can be affected by gouty arthritis including the ankle, foot, knee, wrist or hand. Crystals deposit in these places when a person cannot get rid a chemical called uric acid (which is produced by the breakdown of purines, see below)┬ávery well and the uric acid accumulates as crystals. Did you ever have one of those crystal gardens as a child? Watching the crystals grow was so exciting. Well, imagine having one of those crystals lodged in a joint. Now, that is some serious pain. Living with this painful disease requires some education; here are some little known facts about Gout.

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    • 1. All humans are at risk for gout, but gout is rarely seen in men before adolescence.
    • 2. All humans are at risk for gout, but gout is rarely seen in women before menopause.
    • 3. Estrogen protects women form developing gout prior to menopause when estrogen levels decline.
    • 4. Elevated uric acid levels do not necessarily mean that a person has gout.
    • 5. Uric acid levels can be normal during a gout attack.
    • 6. Many drugs can cause a gout attack including thiazide diuretics (hydrochlorothiazide), low dose aspirin, and some antibiotics.
    • 7. Alcohol use increases the risk for gout.
    • 8. The most accurate way to diagnose gout is by looking for crystals in the joint fluid.
    • 9. Foods that have a high Purine (a basic building block of DNA) content should be avoided, including: shellfish, turkey, salmon, trout, beans, peas, asparagus and spinach.
    • 10. Besides causing arthritis (gouty arthritis), gout can damage the kidneys if left unchecked.

    Knowing the facts about gout along with a consultation with a rheumatologist can make all the difference in the world when dealing with frequent gout attacks.

Published On: September 30, 2009