What Is Gout?
Gout is the disease caused by the deposition of uric acid crystals in joints and kidneys, which causes inflammation. The exact cause of gout was only known in the 20th century and before that gout was considered just as another type of arthritis. Gout causes extreme pain due to the inflammation of the joints but luckily, it is a treatable disease and can be prevented by choosing the right way of life.
What Are The Phases Of Gout?
Gout has four major phases and they are
- Phase I- It is characterized by high levels of uric acid and the phase hardly has any symptoms and is usually not treated.
- Acute attack phase- The second phase is the acute attack phase, which is characterized by pain and inflammation in the areas of uric acid crystal accumulation.
- Interval between attacks- During this phase there is no occurrence of any attacks but the risk of recurrence of attacks remains.
- Chronic gouty arthritis- It is the final phase, characterized by its chronic nature. Lumps of uric acid form in joints and the patient undergoes severe pain.
What Factors Put Some People in the High Gout Risk Group
Gout is technically hyperuricemia, which is the elevated level of uric acid in body. The levels of uric acid in body shoot up, mainly due to the inability of the body to excrete it properly. A genetic defect in the organic anion transporters in the kidney induces excess reabsorption of uric acid from the kidney, naturally raising the levels of uric acid in blood.
In a very low percentage of cases, gout is caused by the higher production of uric acid in the body and a genetic defect in an enzyme which is in the purine base breakdown pathway can induce this condition. The defect increases the activity of the purine-base breakdown pathway, which ultimately leads to hyperuricemia and thereby to gout.
In some cases, medications can lead to the development of gout in people. Some diuretics and low dose aspirin can increase the risk of gout development by weakening the excretion of uric acid from body.
The incidences of gout is more in men than in women and the gout incidence ratio of men to women is fairly high especially at young age. Women are more prone to developing gout once they reach menopause, which explains the role of estrogen in reducing gout risk.
There are reports proving that injuries can lead to gout at least in a few cases. Sometimes a small injury like a stub of your toe can lead to the development of gout provided, there was already uric acid crystal deposition in that joint.
Gout can be successfully prevented by making the right lifestyle choices and taking adequate care of your health. Conviction of belonging to the risk group should make people more careful in opting medications and diet for themselves, so that they can choose prevention over cure.