What Causes Gout?
Gout is a complex illness. It is caused by deposits of crystallized uric acid in the joint. What is uric acid? Uric acid is the breakdown of purines- chemicals found naturally in our bodies and in food. It present in the blood and is eliminated in the urine. However, for people who have gout, the uric acid builds up and crystallizes in the joints. Some patients develop gout because they produce too much uric acid, and others because their kidneys have difficulty removing normal amounts of it.
It is most often found in the big toe because uric acid is sensitive to temperature changes. Uric acid turns into crystals at cooler temperatures. The big toe is the part of the body that is furthest away from the heart, so it is also the coolest part of the body. As a result, it’s the most likely area for gout to occur. However, it can affect any joint in the body.
Often it is an inherited condition, yet there are other factors that put a person at risk including: diabetes, chemotherapy, high blood pressure, obesity, stress, surgery, and certain vitamins and medications.
Foods and beverages that contain high levels of purines can trigger a gout attack. Patients with gout should limit or avoid beer, organ meats (liver, kidney, etc.), shellfish, red meat, and red wine.