Secondary gout

What is Secondary Gout?

Secondary gout is the most common type of gout, also referred to as idiopathic gout. It occurs when uric acid levels become high due to an increase in the production or decreased excretion of uric acid from the body. It is often seen in adults, but it can also occur in children. The most common cause is the body’s inability to metabolize purines properly, which can be caused by a number of medical conditions or medications.

Signs and Symptoms of Secondary Gout

The signs and symptoms of secondary gout depend on the underlying cause, but may include:

  • Pain, tenderness, or stiffness in joints
  • Red, swollen, and tender joints
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Increased uric acid levels

Causes of Secondary Gout

The underlying cause of secondary gout is usually a medical condition or medication. Common causes include:

  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Certain medications such as diuretics
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Certain dietary choices such as red meat or shellfish

Diagnosing Secondary Gout

Your doctor will likely take a complete medical and family history, as well as a physical examination. Additional tests may be ordered as needed including:

  • Blood tests to measure levels of uric acid
  • Joint fluid analysis to identify crystals
  • Imaging tests such as X-rays or MRI to view joint damage
  • Renal function tests to evaluate kidney function

Treatments for Secondary Gout

Once the underlying cause of the secondary is identified, your doctor will likely work with you to develop a treatment plan. Some common approaches include:

  • Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids, or colchicine to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Lifestyle modifications such as reducing alcohol consumption, avoiding foods high in purines, and exercising regularly to help reduce uric acid levels
  • Uric acid-lowering medications such as allopurinol or probenecid to reduce uric acid production or limit its reabsorption into the bloodstream
  • Surgery in rare cases if the gout is caused by a tumor