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Gout


Overview :

Uric acid, which is found naturally in the blood stream, is formed as the body breaks down waste products, mainly those containing purine, a substance that is produced by the body and is also found in high concentrations in some foods, including brains, liver, sardines, anchovies, and dried peas and beans. Normally, the kidneys filter uric acid out of the blood and excrete it in the urine. Sometimes, however, the body produces too much uric acid or the kidneys aren't efficient enough at filtering it from the blood, and it builds up in the blood stream, a condition known as hyperuricemia. A person's susceptibility to gout may increase because of the inheritance of certain genes or from being overweight and eating a rich diet. In some cases, another disease (such as lymphoma, leukemia, or hemolytic anemia) may be the underlying cause of the uric acid buildup that results in gout. An additional factor is occupational or environmental; it is now known that chronic exposure to high levels of lead decreases the body's excretion of urates, allowing uric acid to accumulate in the blood.

Hyperuricemia doesn't always cause gout. Over the course of years, however, sharp urate crystals build up in the synovial fluid of the joints. Often, some precipitating event, such as an infection, surgery, the stress of hospitalization, a stubbed toe, or even a heavy drinking binge can cause inflammation. White blood cells, mistaking the urate crystals for a foreign invader, flood into the joint and surround the crystals, causing inflammation—in other words, the redness, swelling, and pain that are the hallmarks of a gout attack.




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