9 Surprising Causes of Gout You Should Know About
Gout is one of those health problems that comes on suddenly – you don’t get many warning signs before the extreme pain settles in for a good 3 to 10 days. That lack of early warning signs is exactly why it is so important to know what causes gout, so you can prevent it.
Ultimately, gout is caused by having too much uric acid in your body – you either make too much or don’t excrete enough. Perhaps it’s a combo of both.
But what actually creates that elevated uric acid level in your body? You may be surprised. Some of these causes I’m about to show you may seem at first glance to have nothing to do with intense pain in your big toe. Being aware of these surprising causes of gout can make all the difference.
1. Being Overweight
Being overweight or obese are two of the most common risk factors for gout attacks, and here’s why:
- When you’re overweight, your body produces more uric acid
- When you’re overweight, your body excretes less uric acid
It’s a lose/lose situation.
The goal should be to start a regular exercise routine and a healthy diet right away – but don’t be tempted by extreme weight loss regimens. Studies show fast, dramatic weight loss can actually bring on a gout attack. Losing 8 to 10 pounds of weight a month is considered safe and ideal.
The more you urinate, the less fluid you have in your body. The less fluid you have in your body, the higher the concentration of uric acid. That’s why diuretics become a problem.
Plus, diuretics can actually block your kidney’s ability to excrete uric acid properly.
If you have had gout in the past or know you are genetically predisposed, talk to your doctor about alternatives to diuretics.
3. Too Little Water
Dehydration has a similar effect to diuretics: the uric acid concentration will be too high.
To top it off, drinking too little water and having too much uric acid won’t just end up in a gout attack – it could also end up as a uric acid kidney stone. Both conditions are extremely painful, so keep your body fully hydrated every single day.
4. Too Much Meat
Here’s how meat becomes a problem:
- Meat is high in purines.
- Purines create uric acid.
- Uric acid turns into urate crystals.
- Urate crystals travel to your joint and cause a gout attack.
Meat is not the only thing high in purines – so are seafood, yeast, and some veggies. However, no studies have shown too much vegetable consumption leads to gout.
You don’t have to cut out meat entirely unless you want to. Instead, just shrink you portion size down a bit and try to have a few meatless meals a week. If the gout becomes too frequent, your doctor may have you try a meatless diet for some time.
Alcohol is a major problem for any gout sufferer or potential gout sufferer for three reasons:
- Alcohol has purines, which we already know lead to more uric acid
- Alcohol is a diuretic, which we already know leads to more gout attacks
- Alcohol makes it harder for the body to excrete proper amounts of uric acid
Beer is the worst offender, so it should be cut out. Studies show that wine is the best choice if you don’t want to cut out alcohol entirely – just make sure to drink it in moderation.
Keep Reading: The Gout and Beer Connection: Could GMO’s Be to Blame?
Aspirin can actually increase uric acid levels in the body. This is a problem, especially for those who take it regularly and are predisposed to gout attacks. Talk to your doctor about different options than regular aspirin.
Also keep this fact in mind if you have a gout flare-up. Choose a different type of NSAID to help you manage the pain, so you don’t add more fuel to the fire, so to speak.
Gout is virtually nonexistent in women. That is, until they reach menopause. Though the risk is still not as high as a man’s risk, the chances of post-menopausal gout attacks are real. Here’s why:
When you go through menopause, your level of estrogen plummets. Estrogen actually plays a vital role in gout prevention (why women rarely ever get gout in the first place!).
As long as you make it a point to keep a healthy weight, to eat healthy foods not too high in purines, and to drink alcohol in low moderation, gout probably won’t be an issue for you.
8. Injured Joints
When you’ve had a joint injury – or when a joint is used more often than normal (maybe a motion you perform over and over again for your job) – your chances of developing gout in that joint go up.
Plus, your risk of osteoarthritis goes up for that joint as well. And when you have osteoarthritis in a joint, your got risk increases too.
The goal should be to take good care of your joints whenever possible. Wear proper shoes, utilize safety equipment when you play sports, and stay active to build up muscles that support the joints.
Any sort of c or even surgery can lead to gout. Most trauma is something you cannot plan ahead of time, so make sure you stay at a healthy weight to keep your risk as low as possible should a traumatic even arise.
Also, feel free to talk to your doctor about your gout concerns if you head into a major surgery. They will be able to discuss your risk level and options with you.
Reducing Your Risk of Gout for Good
Your first step should be to reverse any of these risk factors that you can reverse. While you cannot change your genetics or whether or not you start menopause, you can absolutely change your eating and drinking patterns.
The next step is to take an all-natural uric acid cleanse. There are plenty of natural supplements that help support the body’s excretion of uric acid – cherry extract and celery seed extract are two of the most important.
Some of the causes of gout may be surprising, but there are so many positive steps you can take to make sure they don’t lead to a gout attack for you.
Read Next: Why Gout Is Often In Your Big Toe