For a long time, the development of gout has been linked solely to a sedentary lifestyle, particularly to an unhealthy diet. When uric acid is not excreted by the body through the kidneys readily, they accumulate to form urate crystals causing pain and inflammation when they lodge in soft tissues of the bones and joints. This condition is the main mechanism of gout development. Because high uric acid levels can be acquired through excessive intake of purine rich foods, a high purine diet has been blamed for the development of such disease. In fact, most lifestyle changes suggested by many include staying away from uric acid food sources such as animal meat, organ meat, sea foods and shellfishes.
However, studies show that genetics and heredity also play a major role in the development of gout as a disease. Scientists were able to identify a specific gene that is a key player to gout development. According to BBC News
, scientists discovered a gene variation called SLC2A gene that renders the kidney unable to effectively excrete uric acid from the body. The gene is responsible in delaying the transport of uric acid from the blood to the membranes of the renal cells making it difficult for uric acid to be excreted by way of urination. As a result, uric acid levels in the blood increases significantly and the formation of urate crystals is promoted. Furthermore, people will have different levels of risks depending on the type of genes they’ve inherited according to the same study.
The results of this study might be bad news to some. Since genetics is already involved, many might think that finding a cure to gout would be next to impossible. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. If you know you have a genetic predisposition to develop gout, you are more likely to avoid any trigger that might cause its development. With this new discovery, more refinement to the diagnostic test present today can be anticipated. In short, we can turn this seemingly bad news to something that we can benefit from.