A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop gout with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing gout. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Risk factors for gout include:
Age and Gender
Although gout can occur in men and women of any age, it most often occurs in men over age 40. Gout usually does not affect women until after menopause.
Lifestyle factors that increase the risk of gout include:
- Being overweight
- Eating a diet that includes foods high in purines. For a list of foods, see Reducing your Risk of Gout .
- Fasting or crash dieting
- Drinking alcohol (especially in excess)
- Drinking high-fructose beverages, like sugar-sweetened sodas and orange juice
There appears to be a genetic component to gout. Six percent to eighteen percent of people who have gout have relatives who also have gout. In a small number of people, the risk of gout is increased by an enzyme defect that interferes with the way the body breaks down purines.
Certain medications and vitamins can increase the risk of gout. These include:
- Salicylates and medicines made from salicylic acid (such as aspirin )
- Caffeine, including medicines containing caffeine
- Levodopa (used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease )
- Withdrawal of corticosteroid medications
- Cyclosporine (used to help control rejection of transplanted organs)
- Niacin (a vitamin)
- Reviewer: Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
- Review Date: 09/2011 -
- Update Date: 09/01/2011 -