Affecting an incredible eight million-plus people in the United States, Gout is a serious form of arthritis that causes insurmountable pain in the joints. The condition, which is one of the oldest prevailing medical illness in society, develops due to the accumulation of uric acid in the joints, mostly troubling overweight adults and men. Delving further, here are seven must-know facts about this condition.
In women, it is more common after menopause
Gout basically occurs due to the accumulation of uric acid, which then forms needle-shaped structures in the joints and leads to pain, inflammation, and redness. Estrogen, a hormone found in women, naturally leads to uric acid being released through urine. However, after menopause, their estrogen levels start to drop, which makes the uric acid content in their blood rise.
Gout can take birth even with normal levels of uric acid
While most patients suffering from gout have a high concentration of uric acid in their bloodstream, some gout attacks can even occur with normal uric acid levels — a rare condition termed as asymptomatic hyperuricemia.
Alcohol increases its risk
Along with meat, fish, and poultry, alcohol consumption drastically increases the chances of developing gout. This is because alcohol has a high content of purine, a chemical compound that breaks down into urea in the body. Excess consumption can increase the concentration in the bloodstream, with the kidneys not able to excrete it as quickly from the system. This ultimately leads to the accumulation of uric acid and subsequent gout.
The occurrence of gout safeguards the brain?
Some scientists are of the belief that the emergence of gout reduces the risk of neurological disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Could uric acid, despite being a waste product, be a powerful antioxidant and prevent the brain cells from damage? It is still only a hypothesis, with multiple studies needed before a conclusion can be reached.
Kidneys are exposed if gout is not treated
Besides causing immense pain and leading to gout, excess uric acid can also prove dangerous to the kidneys. The urate crystals, which are the needle-like structures that cause gout pain, pass through the kidneys and might end up causing scars, and even kidney failure over time.
Certain medicines trigger gout attacks
Changing lifestyle is an important part of treating gout. This also includes getting rid of specific medications that accelerate gout attacks. Aspirin, diuretics which is used to treat high blood pressure, cyclosporine, and niacin, among others, are all known to trigger gout attacks and, thereby, must be avoided.
Greatness is vulnerable to gout
While it is hard to find a silver lining in the gout pain, the condition has a history of affecting great people from history! Sir Issac Newton, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Charles Dickens, among others, were all diagnosed with gout.