Gout Risk Factors

African American woman slicing vegetables
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Gout is a rheumatic disease resulting from deposition of uric acid crystals (monosodium urate) in tissues and fluids within the body. This process is caused by an overproduction or under excretion of uric acid." With that definition in hand, the question immediately becomes what can be done to decrease your risk of developing gout.

There are known risk factors for gout.

A risk factor is anything that increases your chances of developing gout, but it is not certain that you will develop the disease if you have that particular factor. A risk factor is not a direct cause of the disease, but a risk factor is associated in some way with developing gout.

It is important to know which factors increase your risk of developing gout because some are modifiable. In other words, you may be able to change something in your medication regimen, diet, or lifestyle that would then eliminate the increased risk. Examples of non-modifiable risk factors include genetics and certain disease states associated with gout. Clearly, anything that increases uric acid in the blood to an abnormal level increases the risk of gout. Let's consider the most well-known risk factors for gout.

Being Overweight or Obese

Being overweight is a risk factor for developing gout. Being overweight can lead to excess uric acid production.

Eating Purine-Rich Foods

Eating purine-rich foods as part of your regular diet can be a risk factor for developing gout.

Excessive Alcohol Intake

Heavy or even moderate alcohol intake can lead to hyperuricemia.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure or hypertension may increase the risk for developing gout.

Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning can increase the risk of developing gout and is considered a risk factor.

Family History, Gender, Age

Family history or genetics are risk factors for developing gout. Up to 18 percent of people with gout have a family history associated with gout. More men than women have gout. Women generally do not develop gout until they are postmenopausal. Adults develop gout more frequently than children.

Abnormal Kidney Function

Abnormal kidney function, resulting in low urine output, can increase the risk of developing gout.

Certain Medications

Certain medications can lead to hyperuricemia. Some of the drugs that increase the risk of developing gout include:

  • thiazide diuretics
  • low-dose aspirin and salicylates
  • cyclosporine
  • Niacin
  • Levodopa
  • Aminophylline
  • Medications to treat tuberculosis

Certain Medical Conditions

Having certain medical conditions may increase the risk of developing gout. Diseases associated with an increased gout risk include:


Gout, Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases, 12th Edition. Published by the Arthritis Foundation.

Risk Factors for Gout, Brigham and Women's Hospital Health Information. 02/21/14.

Types of Arthritis. Gout. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated July 22, 2016.