Gout develops as a direct result of excess uric acid in the body. However, certain common factors or causes can contribute to increased uric acid levels—including family and medical history, existing conditions, weight, and diet.
For instance, gout flare ups are often caused by the flare-up actors:
Individuals born with Kelley-Seegmiller syndrome (or Lesch-Nyhan syndrome) are deficient in the enzyme, xanthine oxidase. As a result, they have increased uric acid levels, because this enzyme is responsible for catalyzing the formation of uric acid and keeping gout at bay.
Existing medical issues
Patients with existing medical conditions—such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and heart disease—or those who have experienced rapid weight loss may be more susceptible to gout. In addition, recent trauma or surgery patients face a greater overall risk of developing gout.
If you’re a long-term user of niacin, diuretics (to treat hypertension), or aspirin, you may be at risk of gout because your uric acid concentration is higher. In addition, anti-rejection drugs for organ transplant patients can also increase gout risk.
Age and gender
According to research from the Mayo Clinic, gout is more common in male patients, as compared to female patients, due to the simple fact that men have higher uric acid levels compared to women. Male patients typically develop gout earlier (between age 30- to 50-years old), whereas women are more likely to develop gout later in life when their uric acid levels are heightened after menopause.
Gout attacks are often linked to individuals with diets rich in purine, which is found in foods like alcohol (beer), red meat, and seafood. According to data from the Mayo Clinic, fructose-sweetened beverages can increase levels of uric acid in the body.
Medical professionals speculate that body weight may play a role in gout onset. For instance, overweight individuals have an increased risk of hyperuricemia and gout, due to the simple fact that they produce more uric acid to break down total body tissues; and as a result, the kidneys have a more difficult time eliminating uric acid.
As with many chronic conditions, a family history of gout means that you may have a higher risk of developing the disease during your own lifetime. According to statistics from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, approximately 20 to 80 percent of gout patients have a family history of the condition.