Risk Factors and Complications of Gout

Gout is a common medical disorder of purine metabolism. As it is a common health problem, it is important to know the risk factors involved, which can increase risk of developing gout. The following factors can increase risk of gout:

Lifestyle and gout:

Lifestyle and food habit can be important risk factor for gout. Regular and large-scale consumption of foods that have high purine content and should be avoided, can lead to hyperuricemia and gout. It is therefore important to avoid, alcohol, red meat, seafoods and other foods with high purine content. Recent studies suggest that eating high purine vegetables are less harmful than previously thought. Certain foods have protective role in gout such as vitamin C, coffee, milk etc. should be consumed.

Certain medications and gout:

Diuretics, such as hydrochlorothiazide (commonly used for treatment of hypertension) and immune suppressant drugs (used for organ transplantation and other conditions), can increase risk of gout. Other drugs which may increase risk of gout include aspirin, niacin etc.

Genetic factors and gout:

Gout is reported to run in families. Certain genes have been found that are commonly associated with gout.

Certain medical conditions and gout:

Gout is frequently associated with various medical conditions, such as metabolic syndrome (this condition is associated with abnormal lipid levels, abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension etc.), obesity, psoriasis, polycythemia, renal failure, lead poisoning etc.


Gout is more common in men, than women, may be due to lower level of uric acid in women. However, after menopause women also are at risk of gout.

What are the complications of gout?

Complications of gout include recurrence of flare-ups, advance gout and kidney stones. If left untreated an acute attack of gout usually subsides in a week to ten days. However, there is risk of recurrence, which generally occurs with a year. Treat gout appropriately to prevent recurrence. Uric acid crystals may get deposited in various tissues, especially under the skin, known as “tophi”. Deposition of uric acid crystals in joints may lead to arthritis, which is the most common complication and need appropriate management. Uric acid crystals may also be deposited in kidneys, urinary tract, and lead to stone formation. Some kidney stones may have uric acid along with other constituents. To prevent complications of gout, it is important to maintain uric acid level within normal limit by use of medications.


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