If you’ve received a diagnosis of acute gout from your doctor, you might study articles to find out what causes uric acid build-up. If you have not received a diagnosis, but are experiencing joint discomfort, you should see your doctor.
This will act as an overview to help you understand the workings of your body.
Uric acid build-up is the main culprit for some of this discomfort. When your uric acid levels are high, you’re at a higher risk of gout. But what are some potential causes of increased uric acid?
Why Might Uric Acid Levels In Joints Rise?
Having uric acid in the body is actually normal. It’s part of the digestive process. Uric acid production occurs when the body breaks down substances known as purines. These chemicals are in a lot of different foods, such as shellfish and liver. Alcohol also contains purines.
When the body breaks down purines in the blood, uric acid is the result. Most of us are able to get rid of uric acid easily. It moves through the urinary tract or intestines and is eliminated.
However, when people have kidney issues, they can’t get rid of enough uric acid.1
This can lead to the accumulation of urate, a type of salt made from uric acid. When needle-like urate crystals form in the joints, that can lead to a form of arthritis known as gout. Drinking too many sugary drinks and too much alcohol can increase your risk of gout.
Gout, also known as gouty arthritis, is an extremely uncomfortable condition. The symptoms of this condition, such as swelling and discomfort, can get so bad they interfere with a sufferer’s quality of life.2
Does Uric Acid Only Affect The Joints?
Uric acid puts people at a high risk of gout, which, like any other type of arthritis, can cause joint discomfort. But high uric acid levels can also lead to kidney and bladder stones.
In some cases, urine can’t dissolve uric acid properly. This leads to the accumulation of urate in a kidney or the urethra, which is a tube that connects the bladder with the kidneys. If you have gout, you may be at a higher risk for kidney stones and high blood pressure.
High uric acid levels result in a condition known as hyperuricemia. But gout and hyperuricemia aren’t the same thing. You can have hyperuricemia and not have the symptoms associated with gout.3
Uric acid has also been linked to metabolic syndrome. This condition has been identified as a major risk factor for kidney problems and cardiovascular issues.4 Your doctor will need to perform a test to see if you have it.5
What Is Tophaceous Gout?
Tophaceous gout is a particularly severe form of gout. This is a chronic condition, meaning sufferers have chronic gout flares. The condition gets its name from tophi, which are masses of urate crystals that look like nodules.
Tophi can form anywhere on the body, but they most typically affect joints such as the big toe, elbows, and fingers. But tophi can appear in some strange places as well. There are cases where they’ve formed on the spinal cord, the vocal cords, and the ears.6
In addition to being a cosmetic problem, tophaceous gout can affect a person’s ability to perform many basic, everyday activities. Symptoms can include joint discomfort and extreme tenderness.7
Calcium Pyrophosphate Deposition Disease – A Gout-Like Condition
Some people have symptoms of gout without actually having gout. Instead, they have a condition known as calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease, or CPDD. The conditions are so similar, in fact, that CPDD is sometimes known as “pseudogout.”
CPDD develops when calcium pyrophosphate crystals, not uric acid crystals, form between joints and surrounding tissues. Many people don’t develop symptoms. Those who do will typically experience symptoms such as joint stiffness, swelling, and fever.8
What Are The Potential Risk Factors For Arthritis?
Uric acid has not only been linked to gout, but other types of arthritis as well.9 Arthritis is a debilitating condition with many risk factors. These include diet, repetitive movement, smoking, and several others.
Talk to your doctor to see if there are any ways you can reduce the chances of developing this health issue.
Arthritis risk factors include:
Being overweight – If you are overweight, that can put a lot of stress on your joints – especially your knees and hips. Obesity can increase the risk of osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis that wears down the cartilage that keeps bones from rubbing together.10
Repetitive motion – Many people have jobs that require a lot of bending. Over time, this may lead to stress that can damage the joints and increase the chances of experiencing symptoms of arthritis.11
Smoking – According to one study, smoking may increase the chances of developing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.12
This occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints as well as organs. Symptoms include swelling and discomfort.13
Can Diet Lead To An Increase In Uric Acid Production?
Some foods that are a common part of many people’s diet may increase uric acid.
Foods high in purine content include sardines, trout, turkey, bacon, and veal. Foods with a moderate amount of purine include chicken, pork, duck, shrimp, and oysters.14
Talk To Your Doctor
Your doctor can help you determine the best plan to help deal with gout or other issues associated with high uric acid levels. They’ll study the results of any necessary tests and figure out the most effective way to reduce any symptoms you’re experiencing.