What is Gout and How can a Healthy Lifestyle Solve the Problem for Good?
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What is Gout Caused By?

What is Gout? It is a form of arthritis where excess uric acid is deposited in the form of needle-shaped uric acid crystals in and around the body's joints, as well as tendons, kidneys and other places. The most commonly affected joints are in the big toes but it can also occur in joints of the hands, wrists, elbows, ankles, knees and others. There can also be swelling, redness and a sensation of heat. A high level of uric acid is called hyperuricemia.


Inflammation, swelling and extreme pain made worse by motion or pressure. Deposits of uric acid can form enlarged, irregularly-shaped lumps known as tophi. Sudden attacks of pain can occur often in the night (circulation). During attacks there may be other symptoms such as loss of appetite, stomach and intestinal problems, fever, and decreased urine production.

Incidence of Gout

Men (90% of cases) age 40 and over are especially affected. Women have it mostly post-menopausal. Rates of gout in the United States have doubled over the course of the last several decades.

Causes of Gout

It occurs most often in people who are overweight or eat rich foods especially meat and gravies, spices and alcohol. Meats especially produce purines and various acids which tend to raise acid level of the body. The acids are deposited in the form of uric acid. The long term cause of gout therefore, is linked to the level of uric acid in the body as a result of dietary choices. Learn which gout foods to avoid and other risk factors and you can reduce you chances of a gout attack.

Uric acid actually functions as an antioxidant in the body working with other antioxidants to eliminate the threat of free radicals. So it is not dangerous in normal amounts. But when present in excess the body must protect itself from the excess acid as this can adversely affect pH levels of the blood. The deposition of this excess uric acid far from the critical organs (often in the toes) and out of circulation (in crystalline form rather than being dissolved) is an important defense mechanism of the body.

Purines are found in high concentration in meat (especially red) and meat products, especially internal organs such as liver and kidney. A diet based on plant foods is generally low in purines. A moderate amount of purines are also found in some plant foods such as asparagus, cauliflower, some beans and peas, lentils, mushrooms, spinach, oatmeal, wheat bran and wheat germ.

Uric acid is filtered through the kidneys and excreted in the urine. Bacteria in the intestines also dispose of some of it. The problem is when there is much more being produced than the body can excrete. The body looks for some place less critical than the major organs to put the excess.

The answer to "What is gout caused by?" is, mainly, diet and lifestyle. Learn about gout treatments that can help permanently solve the problem and relieve your pain.

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