Who gets Gout?
You can't help but wonder: why me?
As you toss and turn, unable to get comfortable as the pain of gout
seizes your toe or some other joint, you can't help but wonder: why me? Aside
from the existential whys and wherefores, medical science has developed a pretty
good profile of who is likely to contract the nasty form of arthritis known as
gout. Knowing what predisposes one to gout is probably the best defense against
future bouts of this painful joint disease.
First off, consider that gout is what happens when the blood contains
too much uric acid. Uric acid is formed when the body processes purines, which
occur naturally in the body and are also produced when one eats certain foods.
The uric acid that the body can't excrete through urination tends to form sharp, needle-like
crystals around the joints. That, in a nutshell, is gout.
Heavy drinkers are gout waiting to happen.
So, who gets gout? Heavy drinkers are gout waiting to happen. Excess
consumption of alcohol makes for excess uric acid in the body. If you're a guy,
don't drink more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day, or more than one if you're a
Sometimes gout is as simple as a roll of the dice. Certain chronic
medical conditions tend to cause excess uric acid to form in the body,
especially when left untreated. Under this category are such chronic diseases
as: hypertension, diabetes, high levels of fat and cholesterol; known as
hyperlipidemia, and narrowing of the arteries; known as arteriosclerosis.
The other side of the coin is that certain medications prescribed by
doctors for common medical conditions can, by themselves, cause gout. For
example, the family of medicines known as thiazides, a type of diuretic
commonly used for hypertension and low dose aspirin can both cause excess uric
acid to form in the blood. People who have undergone a transplant should be
aware that anti-rejection medications can also have the same effect.
Gout runs in the best of families. If someone in your family has or had
gout, you're more likely to contract the disease yourself.
Men get gout more than women, because women don't usually have as much
uric acid in their blood as do men. After menopause, this changes, as women
then have uric acid levels more closely approaching male levels. That means
that men see gout at an earlier age than do women; between the ages of 40 and
fifty, and in general, women tend to contract gout sometime in their fifties.