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What causes gout in hand?

It is called the disease of kings. Yet gout, far from having disappeared, is actually on the increase worldwide.

The main cause of a gout attack is a high level of uric acid in the blood (above 6.8 mg/dL, the solubilisation point of uric acid). This molecule circulates in the blood and accumulates in the joints in the form of crystals, which cause an inflammatory reaction and intense pain.

The body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines, which are substances that are naturally present in the body. Purines are also found in certain foods, including red meat and organ meats such as liver. Purine-rich fish and shellfish include anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout and tuna. Alcoholic beverages, especially beer, and drinks sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose) promote higher levels of uric acid. So high consumption of those food is an important marker.

In addition, certain diuretic treatments for high blood pressure can favour the appearance of gout. The same goes for treatments prescribed to kidney and heart transplant patients. This is why it is important to check any other medical prescriptions, because sometimes it is enough to stop or change the offending treatment.

Normally, uric acid dissolves in the blood and passes through the kidneys into the urine. Sometimes the body produces too much uric acid or the kidneys excrete too little. When this happens, uric acid builds up and forms sharp needle-shaped urate crystals in a joint or the surrounding tissue, causing pain, inflammation and swelling.

==> So, the cause of gout is an excess of uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia). But this alone is not enough to speak of gout, there must be joint damage. This disease affects about 2% of the population and does not affect just anyone: 80% of those affected are men over 40 years old, often overweight and with a rich diet. It is also not uncommon to find a favourable genetic background, with parents of the previous generation prone to gout.

The appearance of a gout attack is often sufficiently typical to make the diagnosis, so hyperuricemia must be sought by taking a blood test.


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1 Comment

  • Beth
    Posted 1. September 2022 at 12:42

    It is horrible to suffer from gout in the hand. There are days when I can’t do anything because of the pain, that’s why I really liked this information and the practical aids you mention. I will definitely give it a try in the hope that the pain will subside!

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