What are the Causes of Gout?

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  • Written By: S . Seegars
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 06 September 2018
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Gout is a painful joint condition that results from high levels of uric acid in the sufferer's blood. The body either generates too much uric acid or is unable to remove uric acid through the kidneys and urine. The uric acid creates the formation of pointed and painful urate crystals in joints and the tissues that surround them. There are several causes of gout that exacerbate the levels of uric acid in the blood. These causes are genetics, gender, diet, health issues and medication.

It is the breakdown of purines found in the body that creates uric acid. One of the major causes of gout is diet, because food and drinks that have higher instances of purine lead to higher uric acid levels. Alcohol, especially beer, has high purine levels. Red meat, yeast and oily fish such as herring, mackerel, sardines and anchovies also are high in purine. Another food culprit is internal organs, such as kidney and liver.

Genetics and gender both play contributing roles in the causes of gout. There is a 20 percent chance of developing gout if parents have it. British people are five times more likely to develop gout than any other nationality.


Men have higher levels of uric acid than women. Uric acid levels increase in men after puberty, and the levels increase in women after menopause. Men tend to develop gout earlier in life and more often than women do.

Another one of the causes of gout is health issues. Renal insufficiency is one such health issue, because it is the failure of the kidneys to properly dispose of waste products, therefore increasing the blood's levels of uric acid. When a person is overweight, there is more tissue to break down, leading to higher levels of uric acid. High blood pressure, diabetes and arteriosclerosis are other medical conditions that can lead to gout.

Other causes of gout include the use of certain medications. Thiazide diuretics used for hypertension remove excessive fluid from the body, which results in decreased amounts of uric acid moved through the urine. This causes a buildup of uric acid, resulting in gout. High-dose aspirin increases the amount of uric acid in the blood by impairing the ability of the kidneys to move the acid through the kidneys. Anti-rejection drugs used for patients who have undergone organ transplant surgery also can influence the occurrence of gout.



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