(light music) – Gout is an inflammatory
arthritis that develops as a result of high levels
of uric acid in the body. Uric acid is a waste material resulting from the breakdown of purines, which are part of all human tissue and are found in many foods,
especially those high in protein. If there is hyperuricemia, or what we call is too much uric acid in the blood, it means that uric acid is overly produced or not excreted in the body. This excess uric acid can
still accumulate, crystalize, and then deposit in certain joints, most commonly in the big toe, and this can lead to
attacks of inflammation. This inflammation causes
sudden, severe episodes of pain, tenderness, redness, warmth, and swelling in the affected joint, which can last for a
few days if untreated. The higher the level of uric acid, the greater the incidence of gout. Diagnosis entails having a
compatible clinical picture of acute joint swelling, demonstration of elevated
uric acid levels in the blood, and detection of uric acid crystals in affected joints through
joint aspiration or imaging. Why is a joint aspiration done for gout? A joint aspiration is a procedure that obtains fluid from the swollen joint.
This fluid is then sent for analysis to look for uric acid crystals. This is confirmatory for gout and can help exclude other possible
causes for joint swelling, such as infection. At the same time, as fluid is removed, steroid can also be given
into the joint itself to resolve the attack of
swelling much more rapidly. Removal of fluid as
well relieves the joint. Are there risk factors for gout? The answer is yes. These are essentially risk factors or causes for elevated uric acid levels. The first one is diet. Eating foods high in purine content, such as high-fructose corn
syrup containing foods, game meats, seafood, and alcohol, can increase uric acid
levels and lead to gout. Gender and age is another risk factor. Men tend to have higher uric acid levels and develop gout at a
earlier age than women.
Women tend to develop
gout after menopause, due to the protective effect of estrogen. Ethnicity and family history
are also other risk factors. Studies have shown that
hyperuricemia is highly hereditable and if family members have gout, you're more likely to develop it. Obesity and other medical
comorbidities are risk factors. Medical conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney issues, tend to accompany gout. These conditions can all increase the risk of high uric acid levels, as well as have a tendency to decrease the clearance of uric
acid through the kidneys. Medications are another culprit. Several drugs have been
implicated to increase uric acid. The most common examples are water pills or what they call are
diuretics, baby aspirin, chemotherapeutic drugs,
and immunosuppressants, such as those used for organ transplant. We hope this information gives
you a better overview of gout and in turn can help you be an
active and involved patient.
Gout is a disease that is in large part preventable and manageable. You can be an important part of this. This disease is within your control..