A number of risk factors are related to the development of hyperuricemia and gout:
Genetics may play a role in determining a person's risk, since up to 18 percent of people with gout have a family history of the disease.
Gender and age are related to the risk of developing gout; it is more common in men than in women and more common in adults than in children.
Being overweight increases the risk of developing hyperuricemia and gout because there is more tissue available for turnover or breakdown, which leads to excess uric acid production.
Drinking too much alcohol can lead to hyperuricemia because it interferes with the removal of uric acid from the body.
Eating too many foods rich in purines can cause or aggravate gout in some people.
An enzyme defect that interferes with the way the body breaks down purines causes gout in a small number of people, many of whom have a family history of gout.
Exposure to lead in the environment can cause gout.
Some people who take certain medicines or have certain conditions are at risk for having high levels of uric acid in their body fluids. For example, the following types of medicines can lead to hyperuricemia because they reduce the body's ability to remove uric acid:
Diuretics, which are taken to eliminate excess fluid from the body in conditions like hypertension, edema, and heart disease, and which decrease the amount of uric acid passed in the urine;
Salicylates, or anti-inflammatory medicines made from salicylic acid, such as aspirin;
The vitamin niacin, also called nicotinic acid;
Cyclosporine, a medicine used to suppress the body's immune system (the system that protects the body from infection and disease) and control the body's rejection of transplanted organs; and Levodopa, a medicine used to support communication along nerve pathways in the treatment of Parkinson's disease.
Who Is Likely To Develop Gout?
Gout occurs in approximately 840 out of every 100,000 people. It is rare in children and young adults. Adult men, particularly those between the ages of 40 and 50, are more likely to develop gout than women, who rarely develop the disorder before menopause. People who have had an organ transplant are more susceptible to gout.