Gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis. It causes sudden, intense episodes of swelling, pain, and tenderness in one or more of your joints. Gout most often affects the big toe, and it occurs due to a buildup of uric acid crystals in a joint.
In some cases, certain medications can lead to a buildup of uric acid. In this blog, Nathaniel Neal, MD, and Rebekah Neal-Kraal, MD, of Valerius Medical Group & Research Center explain more about what can cause gout, how medications can play a role, and how gout can be treated.
Uric acid is a normal waste product that your body makes when it breaks down purines, which is a substance found in various foods. Gout can develop if the levels of uric acid get too high or if the kidneys have trouble clearing uric acid from the body. If uric acid levels stay high, this can lead to the formation of uric acid crystals, which can congregate in joints and cause joint pain.
Eating foods high in purines can increase uric acid levels and place an added burden on the kidneys. It’s recommended for people with gout to follow a low-purine diet. Purines are mostly found in meat. Purine-rich foods include:
Alcohol is also rich in purines. Beer is a major contributor to gout. Additionally, certain vegetables, such as asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, and cauliflower, are purine-rich. In addition to limiting dietary purines, drinking plenty of water each day can help dilute uric acid.
There are several classes of medications that can affect your metabolism, which can lead to increased levels of uric acid and an increased chance of developing gout. These medications include:
If you have gout, it’s important to discuss your medications with your provider. If you’re taking a medication known to increase uric acid levels, your provider may recommend switching to a comparable drug.
Medications that raise uric acid levels may make it more difficult for you to manage gout. If you suspect that a medication you’re taking is causing your gout, talk to your provider about it.
As mentioned, eating a lot of foods high in purines and taking certain medications can cause gout. However, there are other risk factors that can increase your chances of developing gout. Here are some of them:
Gout tends to run in families. If you have a close relative with gout, you’re more likely to develop it as well.
Medications, along with diet and lifestyle changes, are the foundation for managing gout. The following are some of the medications used to treat gout:
Your provider will recommend an appropriate treatment plan to help you manage your gout attacks and reduce the frequency and severity of future episodes.
Gout attacks can be painful and debilitating, but with the right care, you can minimize attacks so you can function better. To get treatment for gout or to see if you have the condition, book an appointment over the phone with Valerius Medical Group & Research Center today.