10 Causes and Triggers of Gout

Gout is incredibly common: an estimated 8.3 million adults live with gout. Gout is a form of arthritis that causes pain, inflammation, and swelling in the joints. Specifically, it is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood. Managing that uric acid level is one of the keys to living with this condition. 

What Triggers Gout?

Gout can be triggered by a wide range of conditions, ranging from dehydration to certain medications. When people first start managing their gout, it can be difficult to know which triggers affect you. Here are some of the most common triggers you can keep an eye out for. Understanding what triggers gout, after all, can help you to take control over your condition…

10. Dehydration 

One of the most common triggers for gout is dehydration. Of course, hydration is important for everyone, but is it especially important for people with chronic conditions like gout. 

Why Dehydration Triggers Gout

Gout flare-ups can be triggered by a buildup for uric acid in the blood. One of the causes for this is dehydration. You see, when our bodies run low on fluid, we urinate less frequently and that leads to a buildup of uric acid. This can trigger a flare-up. Dehydration can strike on hot days, while working out, or even if you have just been drinking too many beverages that aren’t water. 

One of the most dehydrating beverages is alcohol… 

9. Alcohol 

Alcohol actually dehydrates the body when we consume it, which means it is also a potential trigger for gout.  

Why Alcohol Triggers Gout

The most clear reason for alcohol triggering gout is dehydration. Other reasons include increasing blood sugar levels, contributing to stress, and aggravating diabetes. All in all, alcohol is one of the most problematic triggers for people with this condition. 

Limiting or eliminating your alcohol consumption is part of a diet that works to help ease your gout… 

8. Diet

Our diets shape our health. In other words, what we consume and take into our bodies directly correlates with our health. This is especially true for people with medical conditions like gout. When you are living with gout, you can either have a diet that works to decrease your flare-ups or have a diet that makes them worse. 

Why Diet Triggers Gout

There are several reasons a bad diet contributes to gout. The first of which is high levels of a gout-triggering chemical known as purine. This chemical is found in ham, duck, and many organ meats. Other foods to watch out for are those that are high in sugar, as those can both increase uric acid levels and contribute to other gout triggers. 

Just like our diets, our exercise can shape how severe our gout becomes…

7. Lack of Exercise

When we don’t get enough exercise, we can experience a variety of negative health outcomes. Simply put, exercise is key to healthy life, which includes gout. 

Why a Lack of Exercise Triggers Gout

Exercise is vital for our health. So, when we don’t get enough, we can worsen our medical conditions. Exercise helps to lower uric acid levels as well as help prevent other gout-causing conditions like weight gain and diabetes. 

Sometimes, the medications we take can actually worsen gout… 

6. Some Medications

Some of the medications we rely on for other conditions can trigger gout. This includes both prescription medications as well as over-the-counter treatments. If your medications are making your gout worse, talk to your doctor about alternatives. 

Why Some Medications Trigger Gout

There are a few medications that can make gout flare-ups worse. Heart medications, beta-blockers, and even over-the-counter aspirin can all trigger gout, for example. Water pills can dehydrate a person, which can make their gout flare-up, too. Your doctor can help you find alternatives to any medication that is upsetting you.

A common contributing factor for people with gout is weight gain… 

5. Weight Gain

Being at a healthy weight for your body is just another part of being healthy. When your weight becomes a problem for your health, it can also trigger your gout. 

Why Weight Gain Triggers Gout

There are a few reasons why weight gain can trigger gout flare-ups. For starters, weight gain can lead to a uric acid buildup, which is responsible for causing gout. Weight gain can also contribute to diabetes, a lack of exercise, and high blood sugar, which are all also causes and triggers of gout in and of themselves. 

Speaking of high blood sugar, this is one of the clearest causes of gout… 

4. High Blood Sugar

High blood sugar is associated with worse outcomes for gout. Anything that spikes your blood sugar can also trigger a gout flare-up. 

Why High Blood Sugar Triggers Gout

There are a few common culprits when it comes to high blood sugar. Soda, fruit juices, and cocktails are all beverages that are commonly rich in sugar. People with gout need to be especially aware of a sugar known as fructose, which appears naturally in many fruits. These sugars can increase the levels of uric acid in the blood.

High blood sugar can also contribute to diabetes and prediabetes, which are conditions that may also trigger gout… 

3. Diabetes and Prediabetes 

Both types of diabetes and prediabetes are also potential causes and triggers for gout. For people with a family history of diabetes or other risk factors, being aware of the risk of gout can help lower your odds of a flare-up. 

Why Diabetes and Prediabetes Triggers Gout

Diabetes can trigger gout by changing one of two things about the body’s chemistry. For starters, diabetes can cause abnormal levels of insulin in the blood, which is linked to an increased amount of uric acid. Diabetes is also associated with problems involving blood sugar, weight gain, and diet; all of these factors contribute to gout flare-ups. 

Gout can also have triggers that have more to do with our emotional state than our physical condition… 

2. Stress

Stress is one of the leading causes of health problems. When we have problems managing our stress levels or when we deal with chronic stress, we can face all kinds of health problems. Gout is one such issue that can be triggered by a stress overload. 

Why Stress Triggers Gout

Stress causes havoc on our health. One of the areas that are directly impacted by stress is gout. When our stress builds up, it can lead to plenty of problems including pain and swelling. Stress also contributes to other health problems that are linked to gout like a lack of exercise, poor dietary choices, and alcohol use. 

One of the clearest triggers for gout is trauma to the joints… 

1. Injury and Infection

Our bodies have a remarkable ability to fend off illness and injury. However, when we are managing a chronic condition such as gout, any injury or infection can trigger a flare-up. 

Why Injury and Infection Triggers Gout

For people who live with gout, any trauma to the joints can cause a flare-up. Gout is a form of arthritis and this condition is prone to benign aggravated by joint injury and infection. If your joints become infected or injured, gout can flare-up. This is because injuries and infections also come with swelling and inflammation which aggravate gout. 

Living with gout is all about knowing what triggers your flare-ups. Thankfully, there is plenty of help for this condition. 

FInal Thoughts

One of the best things you can do for gout is track your triggers. This will give you a strong understanding of your condition and help you make decisions about how to treat and manage your gout. Gout is a very common condition and that means there is great support for people who manage this chronic illness. Reach out to your healthcare provider and learn more about how you can get in control of your gout. 

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the site owner or any brands and companies mentioned here. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion, and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything. This article is purely for reference purposes and does not constitute professional advice and may not be reflective of the best choice for your unique situation. This site strives to provide as much accurate information as possible; however, sometimes products, prices, and other details are subject to change. Therefore, this site does not verify for the accuracy of the information presented in this article. This site does not assume any liability for any sort of damages arising from your use of this site and any third party content and services.