Gout is a type of arthritis that causes sudden and severe pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. It occurs when uric acid builds up in the body and forms needle-like crystals around the affected areas. Although gout can affect anyone at any age, it’s more common in middle-aged men and women who have certain risk factors. Let’s take a look at what those risk factors are, so you can understand whether gout is something you need to be keeping an eye out for.
Gout tends to run in families, so if you have a family history of gout, your chances of developing it are higher than someone who doesn’t. If you know that someone closely related to you has been diagnosed with gout, it is important to talk to your doctor about what you can do to reduce your risk of developing it yourself and make sure to check regularly for any warning signs.
Certain dietary habits increase the likelihood of developing gout. Eating too many foods and drinks that are high in purines – such as red meat, organ meats, seafood and alcohol – can increase uric acid levels which can lead to an attack of gout. Additionally, eating foods with high fructose corn syrup or drinking sugary beverages can contribute to an increased risk of gout due to their link with obesity and insulin resistance.
That doesn’t mean you can’t ever have these things, but on a day-to-day basis, you should maintain a healthy balanced diet. Additionally, you should drink plenty of water to allow your body to get rid of waste and lubricate your joints.
Certain existing health issues such as being overweight or obese can increase your chances of developing gout. This is because they reduce the ability of your kidneys to excrete excess uric acid from your body. Staying active and maintaining a healthy weight can ensure that your body can function in a way that reduces your risk of developing long-term health conditions. If you have joint pain already, you may want to avoid high-impact activities such as running and opt for non-weight-bearing exercises like swimming or cycling instead.
Smoking cigarettes has also been linked to an increased risk of developing gout, as well as other long-term illnesses, so it’s also important to avoid this habit.
While anyone can develop this condition regardless of age or gender, there are some risk factors that may increase one’s chances including genetics, dietary habits and lifestyle habits.
Knowing these risk factors can help you make informed decisions about how best to protect yourself against developing this painful condition. Talk with your doctor today if you think you’re at a higher risk for getting gout so they can provide advice on how best to stay healthy, or help you manage any symptoms.