Gout has been described as the oldest and most common form of arthritis. It's caused when the body makes too much uric acid and the body cannot get rid of it fast enough. The body moves the excess uric deposits the body's extremities where the white blood cells try to destroy the acid. This causes inflammation and pain as crystallized uric acid tears into the cartilage and synovial sacks between the joints.
The pain can be extreme and many gout suffers will try to do anything to reduce the frequency and severity of a gout attack. This includes trying to identify triggers and doing their best to avoid those triggers.
The Gout Trigger Debate
Many gout suffers insist certain food makes their gout attacks worse. Back in the 1600s and 1700s it was a condition that only the rich suffered from because of their ability to afford and eat large quantities of rich foods. So the argument is that the same holds true for today and all that gout suffers need to do is find the foods that cause uric build-up in their bodies and stop consuming that food.
Others, even those in the medical community, argue that there is no proof of this. Gout pain is caused by excess uric acid deposits and the body's immune system reaction to these excess deposits. It is not caused by a single food trigger or alcohol reducing the body's ability to secrete uric acid or by being cold.
Someone has to be pre-disposed to getting gout. They have to have the genes that make the body unable to secrete uric acid and/or make too much of it. Just because someone eats purine-rich foods or drinks too much alcohol doesn't mean that they're going to get gout. Often gout is hereditary.
But there are a few conditions that could possibly trigger a gout attack in someone pre-disposed to getting this type of arthritis.
· Joint injury - the immune system will work overtime to try to heal an injured joint which means that if an individual already produces too much uric acid, the white blood cells will work extra hard to remove the acid
· Over strenuous exercise - for reasons similar to joint injuries
· Stress - stress can cause the immune system to over compensate
· Certain drug use - can alter the body's chemical balance and cause it to produce more uric acid than the body can get rid of
· Surgery - for the same reasons as joint injury
· Severe illness or infection - can compromise the immune system
· Dehydration - reduces the amount of water in the body so it has an even more difficult time removing uric acid. Dehydration is a bigger risk in hot and humid weather. Some argue that excessive alcohol can cause dehydration as well affecting the levels of uric acid in the body.