You're more likely to develop gout if you have high levels of uric acid in your body. Factors that increase the uric acid level in your body include:

  • Lifestyle factors. Choices you make in your everyday life may increase your risk of gout. Excessive alcohol use — generally more than two drinks a day for men and more than one for women — increases the risk of gout.
  • Medical conditions. Certain diseases and conditions make it more likely that you'll develop gout. These include untreated high blood pressure (hypertension) and chronic conditions such as diabetes, high levels of fat and cholesterol in the blood (hyperlipidemia), and narrowing of the arteries (arteriosclerosis).
  • Certain medications. The use of thiazide diuretics — commonly used to treat hypertension — and low-dose aspirin also can increase uric acid levels. So can the use of anti-rejection drugs prescribed for people who have undergone an organ transplant.
  • Family history of gout. If other members of your family have had gout, you're more likely to develop the disease.
  • Age and sex. Gout occurs more often in men than it does in women, primarily because women tend to have lower uric acid levels than men do. After menopause, however, women's uric acid levels approach those of men. Men also are more likely to develop gout earlier — usually between the ages of 40 and 50 — whereas women generally develop signs and symptoms after menopause.
Dec. 06, 2011

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