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What is the Connection Between Gout and Hyperuricemia?

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  • Written By: Dulce Corazon
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Gout and hyperuricemia are linked because one of them can cause the development of the other. Hyperuricemia refers to increased levels of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is the waste product of purine breakdown inside the body. The persistent build up of uric acid can result in gout, a type of arthritis characterized by episodes of painful inflammatory attacks.

Hyperuricemia often results when the body produces increased amounts of uric acid, or if the elimination of uric acid through urination is decreased. Other factors that increase the risk of gout and hyperuricemia include genetic factors, excessive intake of alcoholic drinks, frequent eating of protein-rich foods, and use of some medications. Some health conditions, like high blood pressure, obesity, kidney failure, and diabetes may also result in gout and hyperuricemia.

If hyperuricemia is left untreated, individuals may develop symptoms of gout. Uric acid crystals will be deposited in the joints, commonly in the big toe, ankles, wrists, and fingers. The symptoms of gout include pain, swelling, redness, and stiffness in affected joints. The area may also feel warm to the touch. A gout attack can last up to 10 days and it may be a recurring condition separated by months or even years.

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Diagnosis of gout and hyperuricemia requires a physical examination, blood tests, and arthrocentesis. Arthrocentesis is a procedure in which a sample of fluid in the joint is removed for examination. The presence of uric acid crystals in the fluid sample can often give a definite diagnosis of gout.

Patients are then given medications for treatment of gout and hyperuricemia. These medications primarily aim to bring down uric acid levels in the blood. Patients are also urged to make lifestyle changes such as exercising, losing weight, limiting alcohol intake, and avoiding certain foods. Foods to avoid with gout and hyperuricemia include shellfish, organ meats like brains, kidneys and liver, sweetbreads, and all foods that are rich in purines.

Complications of gout and hyperuricemia include damage to the affected bones, which can often result in severe pain. Kidney problems may also develop due to the deposition of uric acid in the kidney tissues. Patients with gout and hyperuricemia also have increased risks of kidney stone formation. Symptoms of kidney stones include sudden low back pain or groin pain, problems in urination, vomiting, nausea, and sometimes, fever.

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