You probably have a loved one suffering from gout and have witnessed how they suffer during a gout attack. Aside from feeling helpless in seeing their pain, you also wonder if you are at risk of developing gout. Not like life-threatening diseases similar to cancer, AIDS or diabetes you cannot find pamphlets of gout information in medical care facilities or aggressive national campaigns on gout. To know more about gout and the effects of high uric acid, you really have to go out of your way to find accurate information. Well this is one is for you, a list of the things that will help you answer the question: Am I at risk of developing gout?
Age and gender. Gout mostly occurs in males aged 40-50 years old and rarely in women prior to menopause. It affects men five times more than women and may occur in men right after puberty. It rarely occurs in children. Although predominantly manifested in men, some studies done in the US by the National Health Institute reveal that women have an equal risk of developing gout depending on lifestyle factors.
Lifestyle factors. Gout is caused by high uric acid level in the blood and its development is therefore hugely affected by factors that increase uric acid in the blood or prevent its removal from the blood. In the same study mentioned above, it was found out that obesity is a common risk factor between men and women. The risk was high for developing gout for men and women having high weight, body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio. Excessive alcohol content is also another risk factor for developing gout.
Underlying medical condition. You are likely to develop gout if have the following medical conditions: hypertension, more so if untreated, diabetes, high fat and cholesterol in blood, leukemia, lymphoma, hemoglobin disorders and hypothyroidism.
Certain medications. Regularly taking medicines that have the tendency to increase uric acid in the blood makes you at risk of developing gout. This includes thiazide diuretics for treatment of hypertension and low-dose aspirin for pain. Medicines to treat tuberculosis and drugs to prevent rejection after an organ transplant are also included.
Genetics. In about 10% of gout cases, there is a history of gout in the family. Now that you know the factors that puts you at risk of developing gout; perhaps you need not feel paranoid about the tiniest pain you feel in your toes or knees. Or maybe your paranoia is now replaced with panic? Hey, unless it’s the same gut-wrenching pain that you witnesses in your loved one suffering an attack, it may not be gout. However, it is also a known fact that a lot of people can have elevated uric acid levels in their blood but never develops gout or experience their symptoms. If you feel pain in your joints that will not go away, the most prudent thing to do is to consult your doctor. You might also conside having your blood uric acid level tested in your regular physical check-ups if you are exposed to most risk factors above.