Non-diet factors

Diet is often a gout trigger, but its not the only one

Diet is not the only potential cause of the high urate levels that lead to gout symptoms.

Urate is the end product of the breakdown of purines ingested through food. However there may be other factors, other than diet, that can lead to excess urate in the body.

Being overweight makes your body produce more uric acid.
by Tobyotter under CC BY
Being overweight makes your body produce more uric acid.

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Some of these include:

  • Weight – overweight people tend to have higher uric acid levels
  • Too much urate produced – there is a genetic link to the production of urate. Some people are pre-disposed to produce too much.
  • Not enough excretion of urate – again there is a genetic pre-disposition in some people leading to not enough urate being removed from the body
  • Alcohol consumption – although the only alcoholic beverage high in purines is beer, alcohol itself is a factor in high acid levels.
  • Kidney problems – clearly any kidney issues may lead to reduced excretion of this acid
  • Drugs – Some drugs such as diuretics can lead to high acid levels

The only common factor in all of the above potential causes of high uric acid levels (hyperuricaemia) is that there is a high acid level!

While drugs exist that can reduce the level of uric acid concentration, these drugs can come with some particularly nasty side effects. Diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea and dermatitis are but a few. One drug that reduces uric acid levels, Allopurinol, may even trigger an attack!

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