Gout is a type of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the blood. Excess uric acid can lead to a buildup of fluid surrounding the joints, which can result in uric acid crystals. The formation of these crystals causes the joints to swell, become inflamed, and cause intense pain. The good news is that you can control gout. In addition to taking medications, dietary and lifestyle changes can help prevent painful attacks. A gout-friendly diet involves a specific plan, which is designed to avoid painful gout attacks. Learn more about which foods to include — and those to avoid — to help prevent symptoms.
What Causes Gout?
Gout develops when there is too much uric acid in the blood. This over-abundance of uric acid may be the result a diet high in purines. Or, your body may produce too much uric acid. In some cases, blood uric acid levels may remain normal, yet gout is still the correct diagnosis. This is due to the body excreting excess uric acid in the urine and inflammatory factors.
What Are Purines Anyway?
Purines are chemical compounds that, when metabolized, are broken down into uric acid. Purines are either made by your body, or taken into your body through foods you eat.
In a normal process, purines break down into uric acid. The uric acid is then dissolved in the blood, passed through the kidneys into the urine, and eliminated from the body.
However, this isn’t usually the case in gout. Complications occur when the kidneys don’t get rid of uric acid fast enough, or if there is an increased amount of uric acid production. These high levels build up in the blood, leading to what is known as hyperuricemia. Though not classified as a disease, hyperuricemia can be dangerous if it leads to the formation of uric acid crystals. Gout can develop when these crystals build up around the joints.