Gout in Women
Gout: Affects of Gout in Women
Gout has long been known as the “old, rich, fat man’s disease?” Gout has always been linked to obesity, a diet rich in high protein foods and middle aged men. But recent studies have shown it to be spreading across other populations to include; women, younger people and even children.
- Gout is showing up in younger people due to high-fructose corn syrup use.
- Gout is becoming increasingly common in women.
- Gout is highly influenced by genetics. If you had a parent with gout, you can get it.
- Gout now spans all financial classes. Middle and poor class diets are un-healthy due to the rising costs of fresh food, and there is a lack of exercise among all classes.
Gout: Now A Woman’s Disease
Women have always had the advantage in gout because estrogen helps to keep uric acid levels low. This factor changes once a woman reaches menopause. As estrogen levels drop after menopause, the uric acid levels go up. This means that after a woman goes through menopause, her risk for gout is the same as men.
Studies have found that even one soft drink containing high-fructose corn syrup a day increases a woman’s risk for developing gout. High-fructose corn syrup raises the risk of obesity and increased uric acid levels. High-fructose corn syrup is a sort of double edged sword in gout.
Women may experience gout symptoms in a different way than men and can lead to misdiagnosis. Lucky for women, the pain of gout is not as excruciating and symptoms are more subtle. The tophi (nodules caused by uric acid crystals) are more common in women than in men. For some women tophi are the only symptom of gout.
Gout: Complications in Women
Gout has many complications in other body systems and these can be more serious in women. Women, more commonly than men, have accompanying kidney disease, kidney stones, heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. Women may get milder symptoms from gout, but treating the accompanying disease tends to be harder. Women tend to need diuretics more often than men, and diuretic use is a major risk factor in gout. Diuretics have negative effects on the kidneys and can make kidney disease from gout worse. When kidney disease gets worse, it causes increased uric acid levels and makes gout worse. This is often makes gout treatment very difficult in women.
Gout: Treatment in Women
Gout has been found in studies to be misdiagnosed in women and inadequately treated. Since the symptoms can be more subtle woman are being prescribed lower doses of medications than men. Even if the symptoms are more subtle, it does not mean the disease cannot do just as much damage in women. It is very important for women to seek proper treatment and follow the same diet, lifestyle changes and medications as men.
Gout can be a disabling disease for men and women alike. Women with symptoms of gout should seek medical care as soon as possible to help minimize the risk of complications. Also, educate yourself on the disease and proper treatment of gout. With proper treatment, women can successfully live a normal and healthy life with gout.
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