Category Archives: gout drugs

What are the triggers for gout attacks?

I’m often asked, “What can bring on a gout attack?”  The following are the classic triggers for gout attacks:

gout_0Medical illnesses such as congestive heart failure, blood clots in the legs, and pneumonia. Patients who eat too much or, conversely, go on a fast are also at risk.  Alcohol consumption, particularly beer, is a common trigger.

Dehydration, which is common in the summer, can bring on an attack.

Trauma or surgery are two important triggers. This is often seen in a hospital setting.

The treatment of gout to lower serum uric acid can also trigger an attack. This is probably due to shifts of uric acid within body tissues during the process of uric acid elimination.

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Why does gout cause attacks?

Gout is a disease due to the abnormal metabolism of purines, a substance found in many foods. Purines are converted to uric acid.   When the concentration of uric acid in blood rises above 6.8mg/dl, there is deposition of monosodium urate crystals in the joint.

gout_0Sites where monosodium urate deposits occur are in areas where there is a relatively low core temperature.  This decreases the solubility of uric acid.  Examples of such sites are peripheral cooler joints like the feet, elbow bursa, and the helix of the ear.

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