May 30, 2008

Risk Factors For Gouty Arthritis

Posted in Category : Bone, Joint & Muscles Disorders

The main cause of development of gout is deposition of uric acid crystals in the synovial fluid and synovial lining of joints. This disease causes the inflammation, pain, redness and tenderness of the joints of big toe, ankles, knees, feet, wrists and hands. Higher levels of uric acid, obesity, exposure to lead in the environment, high intake of food containing purines, high alcohol intake and abnormal kidney function are the major risk factors for gout (gouty arthritis).

People with impaired excretion of uric acid or increased production of uric acid have high risk for development of gout. Elevated uric acid levels may be associated with obesity, age, diabetes mellitus, type IV hyperlipidaemia, hypertension and coronary heart diseases. Besides this, certain conditions like joint injury, dehydration, excessive dining, fever, recent surgery and heavy alcohol intake are considered as the risk factors for gout (gouty arthritis). Recent surgery can cause changes in the body fluid balance.

Patients with impaired renal function or kidney failure are more susceptible to gout. Uric acid present in normal amounts gets dissolved in the blood and easily passes through the kidneys. But due to kidney dysfunction, there is increase in uric acid levels in the blood which may result in formation of crystals of uric acid. These uric acid crystals get accumulated in the synovial fluid and lining and cause inflammation of joints.

A person with medications like aspirin, levodopa and diuretics is more prone to gout as these medications can interfere with the ability of body to remove uric acid. Besides that, the medications like cyclosporine used to suppress the immune system of the body after organ transplant, can increase the risk for developing this disease.

Intake of foods containing large amounts of uric acid such as red meats and internal organs like kidneys and liver, anchovies and some shellfish can lead to raised levels of uric acid and development of gout. Excessive intake of alcohol is associated with gout in young people.

Certain medical conditions like rapid weight loss, chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, surgery and conditions like multiple myeloma, psoriasis, tumors or hemolytic anemia are also significant risk factors for gout (gouty arthritis). People with Lesch-Nyhan syndrome or Kelley-Seegmiller syndrome may have deficiency of enzyme that controls the uric acid levels. Such people have a greater risk of developing gouty arthritis.

In addition to that, heredity, age and gender significantly contribute in development of gout. Usually, men are commonly affected by gout than women. Men in the middle age with high blood pressure, obesity, heavy alcohol intake and unhealthy cholesterol levels are more susceptible to this disorder. In case women, they are more prone to gout after menopause because of reduced estrogen levels which can protect against hyperuricemia. Besides this, some people have family history of gout and such people are prone to this disease.