Gout
Gout

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What Causes Gout?

Gout is caused by the buildup of too much uric acid in the body. Uric acid comes from the breakdown of substances called purines. Purines are found in all of your body's tissues. They are also in many foods, such as liver, dried beans and peas, and anchovies.

Normally, uric acid dissolves in the blood. It passes through the kidneys and out of the body in urine. But uric acid can build up in the blood when:

  • The body increases the amount of uric acid it makes.
  • The kidneys do not get rid of enough uric acid.
  • A person eats too many foods high in purines.

    When uric acid levels in the blood are high, it is called hyperuricemia. Most people with hyperuricemia do not develop gout. But if excess uric acid crystals form in the body, gout can develop.

    You are more likely to have gout if you:

  • Have family members with the disease
  • Are a man
  • Are overweight
  • Drink too much alcohol
  • Eat too many foods rich in purines
  • Have an enzyme defect that makes it hard for the body to break down purines
  • Are exposed to lead in the environment
  • Have had an organ transplant
  • Use some medicines such as diuretics, aspirin, cyclosporine, or levodopa
  • Take the vitamin niacin.

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