Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes sudden attack of intense pain,swelling and redness in joints and soft tissues.In many cases the first attack occurs in joints of big toe but it can affect other joints too.
Gout can develop when your body produces too much uric acid or when it doesnot eliminate enough of it.When level of uric acid increases in your blood it is called hyperuricemia.
Uric acid is produced when your body breaks down purines,which are substances naturally found in your body as well as in protein rich food.The body keeps uric acid at set level by excreting it through kidneys and in urine.
There are several factors that put people at greater risk of developing hyperuricemia and gout.
- gender and age: gout is more common in men than in women and hits men at younger age.Men usually develop gout at ages between 30 and 45 yrs.Women donot typically develop gout until after menopause between 55 and 70 yrs.
- family history: if other members of your family have had gout,you are at greater risk of developing it.
- other medical problems: certain health conditions can cause high level of uric acid in blood.These include high blood pressure,diabetes,kidney disease and some type of anaemia.
- medications: diuretics use to treat hypertension and heart disease can increase uric acid level and so can aspirin. cylosporine,medication which suppresses immune system and is used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs ,can also make you more likely to develop gout.
- Life style: being overweight and drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk of developing gout.