What Is Gout and What Are Its Causes?

When a person reaches old age, there are different types of medical concerns that pop up. Certain body disorders are a result of a weakened immune system, a limited physical capability of the body, and weakened bones as well. Gout Disorder is also one such problem. Although it impacts very few people, it is still quite concerning which is why you should follow certain tips to ensure you are not at risk of getting it. 

What is Gout Disorder?

Gout can be used to describe a condition similar to Arthritis where the uric acid levels are quite high in the bloodstream. This results in the formation of urate crystals in the joints which ultimately swell and become tender causing pain at different parts of the body. Although Gout usually affects men, in certain cases, women above 60 may also be affected. However, young people are also at risk of contracting Gout Disorder. 

An unfortunate aspect about Gout Disorder is that in certain cases, the treatment has to be carried out lifelong otherwise you won’t be able to tolerate the pain. Definitive diagnosis is done to avoid any kind of reactive medicines. More than 45 million people have been suffering from Gout as of 2019. Although Gout can affect any part of the body, it usually impacts the joint on the base of the big toe. 

According to experts, Gout is triggered if a person is consuming excessive amounts of uric acid. This may not necessarily be due to the daily food-based diet rather there can be certain medicines that can aggravate the issue. Water pills, Aspirin, and blood-pressure-lowering medications may lead to Gout problems. Medical problems such as obesity, kidney disease, high blood pressure, injury, and infectious diseases may also cause Gout disorders. 

Gout may be hereditary in certain cases

Types of Gout Disorders and Their Treatment

Various kinds of Gout disorders may affect a person depending upon their health condition. These include the following

Asymptomatic hyperuricemia: Causes and Treatment

In Asymptomatic Hyperuricemia, there are high uric acid levels but this is not shown with any apparent symptoms. This kind of Gout does not impact on a major level but if you don’t take precautionary measures, the chances of urate crystals depositing on joint tissues become higher and may cause damage. 

As a rule of thumb, Asymptomatic Hyperuricemia does not require any kind of medical treatment. All you need to do is make sure that the consumption of alcohol is reduced. Moreover, other items which could increase uric acid levels such as organ meat, high-fat foods, fish, and dairy products should be avoided. Reduction in exercise also helps in lowering uric acid levels. 

Gout on the big toe of the left foot. It is quite bearable which is why the person can stand 

Suggested Reading – Common Gout Related Questions

Acute Gout: Causes and Treatment

One of the most painful types of Gout is when the body is attacked due to the sudden deposition of urate crystals. Unlike Asymptomatic hyperuricemia, it is rapid and intense and leads to acute inflammation as well. Acute Gout may take up to 10 days to end although it may happen any sooner as well. As identified by the experts, the main reason why Acute Gout occurs is due to psychological factors such as stress or overconsumption of Alcohol leading to abrupt reactions in the body. In other cases, extremely cold weather, such as a sudden spell of snow, may also result in the occurrence of Acute Gout.

Since Acute Gout is really painful, the use of different types of corticosteroids including Oral and Intravenous is suggested by the doctors. 20 Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the immediate treatment for acute flares of gout. Indomethacin is one of the most used Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. Consult a doctor before taking any of the following medicines because he can advise you specifically according to your case.

Gout shows on X-Ray at the big toe on the left foot 

Chronic Gout: Causes and Treatment

The worst kind of Gout is Chronic Gout mainly because it is severe and does not have any immediate treatment. The urate crystals are big and the patient can even suffer from Chronic Arthritis. The movement of a person is fully restricted while episodes of pain may occur at any time. Chronic Gout also indicates that more than one joint in the body has been badly affected. If a person suffers from frequent episodes of an Acute Gout attack and the treatment is either not done or ineffective, the person eventually develops Chronic Gout. 

There can be multiple deformities in the body joints due to Chronic Gout. In addition to that, Chronic Gout may also poorly impact your Kidneys. Unfortunately, the treatment is not easy and it may take up to 10 years to recover. Even then, the treatment is not guaranteed to be successful. The doctors use different types of urate-lowering drugs which are quite strong and may leave certain side effects on the body too. These include Xanthine Oxidase Inhibitors, Uricolytic Drugs, and Uricostatic Drugs. 

Acute Gout may result in indefinite joint damage 

Pseudogout: Causes and Treatment

The above-mentioned types were the main kinds of Gout that occur in the body. However, there is one other condition too which is named Pseudogout. Although this is quite similar to Gout in terms of symptoms and joint pain, it is not caused due to the unusually high amount of uric acid in the body. Pseudogout is a condition where there is the formation of calcium pyrophosphate crystals. 

Pseudogout attacks can occur from time to time and in different parts of the human body. Experts have not been able to come up with conclusive evidence as to why there is the formation of Calcium Pyrophosphate Dihydrate crystals in the joints. Since the medical condition is similar to Gout, the treatment is also similar. Doctors may give you different types of Anti-inflammatory drugs and NSAIDs including Colchicine. Fortunately, in most cases, the pain occurs due to Psuedogouts starts to decrease within 24 hours of treatment.  

Light microscopy of a touch preparation of a gout tophus

Gout Surgery

Despite numerous medicines for the treatment of Gout, in certain cases, the pain may become quite excruciating or the damage is not repairable with the help of medicines. This also occurs when the tendons are torn and infection has spread over multiple joints. There can be deposits of “tophi” on your joints which are not only painful but may cause permanent damage to the joints as well. To avoid any permanent damage, Gout Surgery is performed. 

Gout with ruptured tophi  

Mainly, there are three different surgeries to deal with Gout. Firstly, tophi removal surgery which mainly includes removing the giant lumps that have emerged on the joints. The doctor makes a small cut on the skin and removes the excess lump by hand. Secondly, the joint fusion surgery where the doctor recommends that smaller joints are fused to ensure that joints are stable and there is a relief of pain to the body. This is usually the surgery done in case the first one is not possible and advanced gout has caused major damage to the joint. 

The worst scenario is joint replacement surgery. It is one of the most expensive surgeries and involves the replacement of the damaged joint with a new joint. This type of surgery is advised in the circumstances when there is permanent damage to the joint. In most cases, the knee is the joint that is affected and leads to foot problems. According to modern studies, 87% of knee replacement surgeries are still working well even after 25 years which suggests that this is a great way to overcome Gout. 

Tophus at the Knee 

How to Avoid Gout?

Gout is truly scary as it may impact any person who does not take care of the proper diet intake. No one wishes to bear torturous pain as they suffer from Gout. To avoid Gout, the first thing to do is to limit alcohol and purine-rich foods. In addition to that, move forward to a healthy lifestyle by exercising in routine, abstaining from smoking, and ensuring that your body is well hydrated at all times. Certain people may not be able to follow the diet criteria or lifestyle if they are on certain medication. They should consider the doctors for advice on how to avoid gout. 

Most recently, the laser treatment for Gout was also approved. Read about it here – Latest Natural Gout Treatment


Elders may face several problems and Gout Disorder is just one of them. We have mentioned the different causes as to why Gout Disorder occurs so you should try avoiding them as much as possible. With certain treatments for Gout Disorder, it can be resolved in some cases. However, if you are not following the right protocols for treatment including diet, you may end up suffering from permanent joint problems which may require surgical treatment.