November 19, 2007
Extra Credit BIOL 1274-
Gout is a common disease which is caused by the build up of uric acid in the joints, tissue deposition of uric acid crystals, and joint destruction if left untreated. Uric acid is a byproduct of purine metabolism. Lacking uricase, humans remove uric acid primarily by renal excretion. "Normally, uric acid dissolves in your blood and passes through your kidneys into your urine. But sometimes your body either produces too much uric acid or your kidneys excrete too little uric acid. When this happens, uric acid can build up, forming sharp, needle-like urate crystals in a joint or surrounding tissue that cause pain, inflammation and swelling" (Mayo Clinic).
Gout results "from an elevated blood level of uric acid (hyperuricemia), which occurs when the liver produces more uric acid than the body can excrete in the urine, or when a diet high in rich foods" ("Podiatry Channel"). The rich foods which are known to cause Gout are red meat, heavy creams, and red wine. Foods such as the ones mentioned tend to produce more uric acid than the kidneys can filter from the blood. (Francis, Mark).
The pain or inflammation is known to start primarily at the big toe or ankle in which the pain is caused by build up of crystals of uric acid in the joints (Arthritis Foundation). The symptoms known to go along with gout are redness, pain, inflammation, stiffness and swelling. Touching or moving the toe or ankle leads to increased pain. If gout is left untreated, this can often lead to damaged joints and cause incapacitation (Francis, Mark).
According to Dr. Francis, episodes of gout occur relatively quickly and usually at night. These episodes may occur due to: lifestyle factors, medical conditions, certain medications, family history of gout and age and sex.
Lifestyle factors include things such as excessive alcohol use. "Regularly drinking alcohol interferes with the removal of...