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What causes gout?

Uric acid is a chemical that is created when your body breaks down certain foods and drinks. Gout is a condition that occurs when uric acid builds up in the bloodstream, which results in urate crystals forming in the joints. The crystals can cause inflammation of the joint, which leads to swelling and extreme pain. Several factors can lead to high uric acid levels in your blood. It can occur as a result of your kidneys not filtering uric acid out of your body fast enough. It can also be caused by a condition called hyperuricaemia, a hereditary condition that causes people to have very high levels of uric acid in their blood. Some medications may also result in higher-than-normal levels of uric acid. For example, diuretics, which are medications that promote the production of urine, can lead to increased levels of uric acid in the blood.

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About this article

Author: Dr Joanne Van der Velden PhD, BSc (Hons)
First answered: 24 Oct 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Votes: 906 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Gout


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