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Kevin Eric Smith
Gout can be very difficult to diagnose, and even more difficult to control. Kidney dysfunction and impaired metabolic functions can lead to overproducing and/or under-excreting uric acid from the body. While about 30% of our uric acid production stems from the food we eat, the other 70% has to do with the health of the cells in our body. Common triggers that either contain high levels of purines or simply affect the cells and the way our body functions include:
Certain Medications Can Cause Gout
Sugar (especially high fructose corn syrup)
Certain Food Choices
On top of the well know Gout triggers, we also have to worry about the type of medications we might be prescribed that could also cause problems. If you take, or are prescribed any of the following, be sure to discuss potential connections between them and your Gout:
Diuretics: These drugs are commonly prescribed to help treat high blood pressure and heart failure. Did you also know they can raise the risk of Gout attacks by 20%? Diuretics are used to help rid the body of excess fluid, but can also decrease the kidney's ability to remove uric acid. When uric acid excretion is limited, a rise of uric acid in the blood can be expected.
Aspirin: Low-dose aspirin, 75-81mg, is often used as a measure for heart attack and stroke prevention. It could also seem like a viable solution to control Gout pain. Unfortunately, studies have shown the low-dose amounts to increase the risk of recurrent Gout attacks by two-fold. It has been shown that these amounts prevent the kidneys from excreting uric acid. Oddly enough, regular/high-dose aspirin amounts do not seem to have the same negative impact.
Niacin: Can be prescribed or taken as a dietary supplement in an effort to help treat high blood cholesterol. However, at high doses of 50mg or more daily, niacin tends to compete with uric acid for bodily excretion.
Vitamin C: In pill form, at doses greater than 3000mg, Gout sufferers may see an increase in uric acid. High-dose Vitamin C has also been shown to cause the body to store iron, which can "fire up" the joints. High dose C should be obtained via healthy food sources which does not have the same negative impact as it does in pill form.
Levodopa: This medication is prescribed for patients with Parkinson's disease and has been shown to increase the uric acid in the body.
Cyclosporine and other immunosuppressive drugs: Prescribed to patients who have received organ transplants in hope to prevent organ rejection. It suppresses the immune system, it has also been shown to increase uric acid levels.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol): Can be very hard on the liver and kidneys, both of which play a crucial part in Gout control and Gout avoidance.
Antibiotics: Prescribed to kill off bad bacteria in the body, but unfortunately also destroys the good bacteria along with them. The bowels play an important role in uric acid expelling, as well as the fact that close to 80% of the immune system resides in the digestive tract. When the good bacteria in the body is destroyed we can quickly become susceptible to all sorts of malfunction, including a rise of uric acid levels in the blood.
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