Gout is a complex form of arthritis that can get triggered by increased uric acid levels in the body. However, not everyone with high uric acid is at risk. People who take high doses of aspirin are at lesser risk as these remove uric acid from the kidneys, reducing your chance of developing gout. Researchers previously believed that you couldn't have both gout and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) at the same time since large doses of aspirin were historically a typical RA therapy. But low-dose aspirin treatments may increase your chance of developing gout. In this article, Dr. Abhishek Kumar Mishra, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Apollo Spectra, Delhi, explains the link between high uric acid and rheumatoid arthritis.
Factors that trigger gout inflammation
Women who self-reported having RA had noticeably higher blood uric acid levels. Gout can be caused due to higher uric acid as it triggers urate crystallisation. These crystals can clog your joints causing inflammation and pain. Over time, this causes rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
RA develops when your immune system reacts improperly and targets its own tissues including those present in the joint. Even though the origin of the inflammation is different, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and gout are similar. This makes diagnosis difficult.
Signs and Symptoms of Gout and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Gout and RA both have the potential to develop nodules, which is one of the reasons they may be mistaken for one another. These lumps can form at pressure sites like your elbows and heels or around joints. Depending on the illness you have, these nodules have different reasons.
Nodules may be developed due to inflammation in the joints with arthritis. These lumps are painless. Similarly, gout can cause the formation of sodium urate crystals under the skin which looks similar to nodules caused by RA.
What causes Gout?
RA and gout have distinct causes. Gout is caused due to increased concentration of uric acid in the body. Whereas, RA is a problem related to the immune system. There are a number of reasons why there might be too much uric acid, including:
- Increased consumption of high-purine foods
- Regular intake of aspirin or diuretics that have purine
- Family history of kidney illnesses
How is gout diagnosed?
Your doctor might run a few tests to identify gout. These are:
- A test to check the joint fluid for urate crystals
- Ultrasound to locate urate crystals
- A blood test to check creatinine and uric acid levels
- X-ray imaging to check for erosions
- A dual-energy CT to check uric acid deposits in tissues
Given that gout and RA can coexist, health specialists now advise taking a proper medicinal course for each condition. You must consult a doctor for more information to prevent critical complications of these conditions.
It was once thought that because RA medications like aspirin helped eliminate uric acid, gout and RA couldn't coexist. However, large aspirin dosages are not a component of modern RA therapy. Even if you have RA, gout is still a possibility. The therapies for gout are very different from those for RA, although they are nonetheless very effective. If your RA medication doesn't seem to be working, especially if you experience discomfort in your toes, consult your doctor and get medical aid, concludes Dr. Mishra.
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