Updated 15 February 2016

Risks of gout

There are a number of risk factors that increase your risk of gout. These include hypertension, obesity, high alcohol intake and the use of certain medications.

There are several factors that could place you at an increased risk of suffering from gout. These include:

• Genetic predisposition for an abnormality in handling urate accounts for approximately half of all cases. A family history of gout can be a risk factor.

• Male sex in middle age

• High blood pressure

• Drugs: thiazide diuretics, aspirin, tuberculosis medication (pyrazinamide and ethambutol)

Obesity or excessive weight gain, especially in youth

• Moderate to heavy alcohol intake

• Abnormal kidney function

• A western lifestyle

• Underlying diseases with a high turnover of cells (cancers – especially blood cancers and haemolytic anaemia)

Cherries may ward off gout

The following conditions can trigger gout:

• Recent surgery

• Dehydration

• Joint injury

• Excessive dining

• Heavy alcohol intake


• Change in diet

• Foods with a high protein content such as red meat, shell fish, legumes and soya

Read more:

Gout risk for overweight men

Gout ups heart risk in men

14 foods that cause gout

Previously reviewed byDr David Gotlieb, rheumatologist, MBChB FCP(SA), September 2004

Reviewed by Dr Ingrid Louw, rheumatologist, MBChB, MMED Int Med, (private practice), August 2011


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Professor Asgar Ali Kalla completed his MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 1975 at the University of Cape Town and his FRCP in 2003 in London. Professor Ali Kalla is the Isaac Albow Chair of Rheumatology at the University of Cape Town and also the Head of Division of Rheumatology at Groote Schuur Hospital. He has participated in a number of clinical trials for rheumatology and is active in community outreach. Prof Ali Kalla is an expert in Arthritis for Health24.

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