Gout is one of the most painful rheumatic diseases. Gout results from deposits of needle-like crystals of uric acid in connective tissue, joint spaces, or both. These deposits lead to inflammatory arthritis, causing swelling, redness, heat, pain, and stiffness in the joints. Gout accounts for about 5% of all cases of arthritis.
There is not much difference between gout and Pseudogout. As a result it is sometimes confused with gout because it produces similar symptoms. However, in pseudogout, deposits are made up of calcium phosphate crystals, not uric acid.
Causes for gout
Uric acid is a substance that results from the breakdown of purines, which are part of all human tissue and are found in many foods.
Normally, uric acid is dissolved in the blood and passed through the kidneys where it is eliminated in the urine. If the body increases its production of uric acid or if the kidneys do not eliminate enough uric acid from the body, levels of it build up in the blood.
Generally, gout affects the joints in the big toe. Sometime during the course of the disease, it also affects the big toe in many people. Some other parts that could get affected by gout are:
What Causes Gout?
There are numerous risk factors which could be attributed to the development of hyperuricemia and gout, some of them are:
- Family history: Genetics may play a role in determining a person’s risk, since up to 18% of people with gout have a family history of the disease.
- Gender: Gender and age are related to the risk of developing gout; it is more common in men than in women and more common in adults than in children.
- Weight: Being overweight increases the risk of gout because there is more tissue available for turnover or breakdown, which leads to excess uric acid production.
Drinking too much alcohol can lead to hyperuricemia because it interferes with the removal of uric acid from the body.
- Food habits: Eating too many foods rich in purines can cause or aggravate gout in some people.
- PseudogoutPseudogout is a joint disease that may include intermittent attacks of arthritis.
Causes, signs and symptoms:
- Pseudogout is caused by the collection of calcium pyrophosphate crystals in joints
- One could also experience swelling and pain in the joints, knees, wrists, ankles, and other joints
Pseudogout could be initially misdiagnosed as gouty arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or osteoarthritis because of similarity in the symptoms with the above.
Careful workup, with analysis of crystals found in joints, should ultimately lead to the correct diagnosis.