Types of Gout

Gout is a medical condition that is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood stream. Statistically gout affects about one out of every 100 people in the world; research also indicates that this number is gradually rising in many areas even among some developed countries. There are numerous types of gout, some of which we will disuse in this writeup. The main factors that can be attributed to cause gout include;

  • Diet
  • Certain medications
  • A person’s lifestyle
  • Age of the individual

The symptoms vary depending on the type of gout but some of the common symptoms include;

  • inflammations around the affected area
  • sharp pain in a specific joint
  • reddening of the skin
  • fever due to elevated body temperature

The various types of gout

Based on a number of factors, gout can be classified into the following types;

  • 1. Hyperuricemia
  • The main characteristic of this type of gout is a high concentration of uric acid in the bloodstream. The main organ that is responsible for releasing uric acid in the blood circulation system is the liver. The other organs that deal with uric acid are the kidneys; the kidneys play the role of filtering uric acid from the blood after which it is excreted from the body mainly through urine.

    The concentration of uric acid in the blood normally ranges between 2.5- 6 mg per dl. Uric acid is formed when the body breaks down the nitrogen based compound known as purine. Purine is found naturally in the human body and also in some of the foods that we consume.

    Urate crystals start forming when the concentration of uric acid exceeds 7mg per dl. When the concentration of uric acid reaches to such high levels Hyperuricemiastarts developing in the individual. One reason known to cause hyperuricemia is the body’s inability to excrete the uric acid at a faster rate than it is accumulating in the body. ¬†Diseases such as diabetes can also cause a sharp increase in the levels of uric acid in the blood stream. Hyperuricemia can lead to serious conditions such as kidney stones or even kidney failure.

  • 2. Acute Gouty Arthritis
  • This type of gout usually attacks an individual without manifestation of any kind of symptoms or warning. It is caused by a sudden rise of uric acid in the body which leads to a reaction with the individual’s immune system; this results in what is called as a gout attack.

    What causes these sharp fluctuations in uric acid concentration in a person?

    -  Drinking large amounts of alcohol.
    -  When a person engages in fasting.
    - Consumption of purine rich foods in excessive amounts, for example meat.

    Individuals who have acute gouty arthritis experience extreme pain during the attacks which causes inflammations to occur. If proper treatment is administered the pain usually subsides, but if untreated the pain may persist and there will be high chances of getting another attack in the future.

  • 3. Recurrent gout
  • This type of gout has no symptoms associated with it. It is considered as a phase between an initial attack of gout and other subsequent attacks. In this phase no pain is experienced and the individual’s joints have normal functionality. It is always advisable to go and see a doctor after a gout attack, because recurrent gout may develop into a more serious type of gout called chronic gout.

  • 4. Chronic gout ( Tophaceous gout)
  • This type of gout is mainly characterized by the formation of monosodium urate crystals in an individual’s tissues and bloodstream. When left to accumulate, the crystals start developing into tophi. About 25% of people who have had gout develop tophi at one point in their lives. If you don’t receive any kind of treatment the tophi will cause damage to joints and tendons at the affected area.

    One condition that closely resembles chronic gout is pseudo gout (also called calcic gout) thus proper diagnosis is always important not to confuse the two. The main difference is that pseudo gout results from the accumulation of calcium pyrophosphate dehydrate crystals in the affected joint unlike chronic gout which is caused by urate crystals.

    The most important thing to know is that gout is treatable, therefore it is always recommended to seek medical attention as soon as you detect any symptoms linked to gout.

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