What Can Trigger Gout Attacks?
Gout is caused by the accumulation of excess uric acid inside our bodies. When this occurs, the uric acid produces monosodium urate crystals, which are deposited inside and around your joints and attract white blood cells, thereby causing that intense pain that is associated with gout. Uric acid is made up of chemicals called purines, which are naturally present in our bodies and in various types of food. Uric acid has no particular use or function and is thus excreted regularly through our urine.
High Uric Acid Levels
High levels of uric acid in the body is caused by the intake of food that is high in purine. Examples of these high-purine food sources are meat, meat extracts, gravies, seafood such as sardines and anchovies, yeast and yeast extracts, beans, peas, lentils, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower and mushrooms. Excessive alcohol intake also leads to high uric acid levels in both men and women.
However, it is not only what you eat and drink that can trigger gout attacks. Some medications, such as thiazide diuretics and low dose aspirins, also cause uric acide levels to rise. Untreated medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and arteriosclerosis also increase your chances of developing gout. Having a family history also more likely puts you at risk for gout attacks.
But it is also interesting to note that although high uric acid levels in the body causes gout, a rapid drop in uric acid levels likewise causes gout attacks as well.