Top 8 Risk Factors For Gouty Arthritis
Gouty arthritis is such a dangerous condition because it’s much more painful than the typical arthritis. If you ever heard of gout, well, this is its other name. So put together the chronic stiffness from arthritis with the worst pain you ever felt. What’s the result? A general pain that you surely don’t want to experience.
But what lies behind this condition? Why is it more frequent in certain people? And what makes you more likely to develop it?
Here are the top 8 risk factors for gouty arthritis. If you are among one of these categories, make sure you eliminate all the other dangerous factors from your life.
If there’s one thing responsible for gout, it’s surely genetics. There are many famous families in the history that had generations of gout.
The reason is simple, it’s more difficult for their bodies to eliminate the uric acid it produces. There’s no pathological cause, it’s just in the structure of their genes.
Therefore, if you have family members that had this disease, pay an extra attention. Sometimes there can be differences of 4 generations until gout strikes again. So if your grandparents didn’t have it, but your grand grandparents did, the risk is still there.
2. Alcohol Abuse
Probably the easiest thing you can do to develop gout is to consume excessive amounts of alcohol for years. Alcohol abuse itself doesn’t usually cause gout, but it can highly increase the risk.
But the interesting fact is that not every types of alcohol leads to gout. Scientists discovered that drinking wine daily doesn’t increase the risk at all. On the other hand, beer is the most dangerous drink from this point of view.
So if you’re already at risk for gout, try to avoid alcohol as much as possible. If you really can’t help it, try to consume wine instead of beer.
Another risk factor that plays a major role in gout is extra weight. Now, I never heard anyone developing gout just from being overweight. It’s surely not as important as genetics or alcohol abuse, but what happens if you associate it with one of them?
Well, the risk could increase with up to 50%. But what weight can influence the process of gout? What means “obesity” in this case?
Science doesn’t give an exact number, but researchers say the more weight, the bigger the risk for gout. Fortunately, that’s something you can control so exercising and dieting are vital to keep you healthy.
4. Meat Consumption
In the past centuries, gouty arthritis was considered the disease of the rich people, because they only ate meat. It’s known ever since that meat increases the risk, but scientists back then didn’t know why.
Well, it’s not necessarily meat, but foods rich in purines. And obviously, meat is probably the most important one. There are also seafood, beans and obviously alcohol.
What’s interesting is that not every type of meat is rich in purines. Basically, it’s all about chicken, duck, turkey, pork and beef. Yes, these are the most frequent types of meats we consume, but you can manage to stay away from them.
Just like in most conditions, growing older brings an extra risk. And it’s the same for gout. People over 70 have a much higher risk to develop this condition.
However, many people have the first attack between 30 and 50 in age, which is a pretty small number. Fortunately, the disease doesn’t continue and there’s usually just one attack. The bad news is that people who had one episode in the past are very likely to repeat it once they grow older.
Luckily, age is just an additional factor, not a decisive one like genetics. So it’s very unlikely that you develop gout just because of growing older.
6. Male Gender
Surprisingly or not, men are almost twice as likely to develop gout as women.
The explanation for this lies in hormones. Women have estrogen that protects them from this condition until menopause. Once menopause appears, the risk also increases in women.
When it comes to men, they have higher levels of uric acid ever since their teenage years. These higher levels continue throughout the life, so this explains why there are many more men with gout than women.
7. Associated Conditions
If you have a chronic disease, you have an increased risk for a lot of secondary conditions. And gout is among those ones.
Diabetes, obesity and cancer and just a few of them, but the most frequent one is chronic renal failure. In this case, your kidneys cannot do their job at normal capacity, so many substances won’t be eliminated in a regular quantity. Obviously, uric acid is one of the potential dangers.
A chronic disease doesn’t only increase the risk for gout, but this is one of the unexpected complications that can happen.
8. Certain Drugs
There are a few medicines that have gout attacks as a side effect. Some of the most important would be diuretics, aspirin and cyclosporine. Obviously, the real cases were under 1%, but the risk still exists.
Most of the times, these drugs are prescribed as a must and they’re essential for the initial condition. If they cause you gout, the doctor will either replace them with a similar medicine, or he will change the dose.
Fortunately, there are additional medicines that will help you control the level of uric acid. In this way, your gout will be treated while following the initial treatment.
So Are You At Risk For Gouty Arthritis?
If there’s a case of gout in your family, you have to pay a lot of attention. Genetics is probably the main risk factor for gout. If it’s associated with alcohol, a diet rich in purines or obesity, the risk becomes even greater.
There are also smaller risk factors, but it’s pretty unlikely that they influence your condition much.
Therefore, if you know you are at risk to develop gout, take all your precautions.