Gout is a severe joint disease caused by the deposition of crystals of monosodium urate monohydrate and calcium pyrophosphate around the joints, tendons and other tissues of the body.


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These crystals cause attacks of arthritis due to severe inflammation and tissue damage. Gout rarely occurs before puberty, and when it does this suggests a genetic disorder with an enzyme defect. Gout is becoming more common in the developed world, where it tends to run in families. It is still rare in developing countries.

Crystal deposition occurs when the levels of uric acid in the body are abnormally high. The most common cause is a failure of the kidneys to excrete uric acid fast enough. The reason for this is still unclear, but it seems to be genetically determined. 75 per cent of cases of gout are caused in this way.

In about 20 per cent of cases the cause is excessive production of uric acid. Uric acid production is the last stage in the breakdown of purines. The purines, adenine and guanine are constituents of DNA. In most cases the reason for the rise in uric acid remains uncertain. Many people with raised uric acid levels do not suffer from gout. A number of causes of increased production of uric acid are known, but they rarely occur.

Some causes of impaired excretion of uric acid are also known. They include:

  • Kidney disease
  • High blood pressure
  • An under active Thyroid gland
  • An overactive Parathyroid gland
  • Treatment with diuretic drugs
  • Overproduction of lactic acid from starvation,
  • excessive exercise
  • or alcohol excess

Other sources of information for these topics.

Gout (Wellington)
A look at this, the commonest forms of arthritis, its causes, treatment, treatment of acute attacks, how to lower uric acids and complication.

Gout - Overview, Symptoms & Diagnosis - podiatrychannel
Brief description of gout, treatment and prevention.

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