Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Linked to Gout?

There are lots of types of arthritis. Some of them are rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and gout. Both are inflammatory conditions that can cause similar symptoms. Interestingly, in a few cases they can be found together, too. Does this mean that RA is linked to gouty arthritis?

Gout

Gout can be so painful during flare-up. The symptoms often strike suddenly, too. There are some common joints where it usually appears and strikes. But typically, it affects the joint of big toe. See more the symptoms and how it develops in this post!

It is usually associated with the high levels of uric acids in the blood that go and accumulate in the joint. Overtime, they can form needle-like crystals and cause inflammation in the joint.

Though high blood uric acid levels play a key role in causing the disease, but not all people with high uric acids in their bloodstream develop gout. It seems other factors may have an effect, too.

And once you have gout, it’s important to restrict your diet from foods high in purines (proteins that can break down and become uric acid in the body). For in-depth information about these foods, visit this previous post!

This arthritis is not linked to the abnormality of your body immune system. But without clearly reason, in rare cases it can be found together with a rheumatoid condition.

Rheumatoid arthritis

It has nothing to do with the elevated levels of uric acids in your blood. But it is a kind of autoimmune disease. In other words, it has connection with the abnormality function of your body immune system.

Normally, the immune system plays a key role in the defense system of the body. It is important to protect the body from harmful things and foreign intruders such as viral or bacterial infections.

image_illustration302But without known reason, the immune system of people with RA targets its own healthy tissues – especially soft membranes surrounding the joint called synovium, causing inflammation in the involved joint. This eventually also affects other parts of the joint such as cartilage, bone, or tendon.

The bad news, the inflammation generated by RA can be systemic. The word ‘systemic’ means the inflammation can target and attack other parts of your body.

So RA doesn’t affect the joint locally like what happen in OA ‘Osteoarthritis’ (the most common type of arthritis), because it can affect your overall health, too. It can be a life-threatening condition if poorly controlled.

Interestingly, its complications play a significant role in causing premature death. See more the complications in here!

The good news, new medications are now available to control it better. Even some can make the disease go into remission – less flares means less inflammation and lower risk of having the complications from the disease. Furthermore, the use of surgical treatments to treat RA also declines year by year.

Is RA linked to gout?

To make the diagnosis, your doctor need to know your previous problems, otherwise a wrong diagnosis may be made. Because in fact, sometimes gout can be misidentified as RA – or perhaps vice versa!

At advanced stage, gouty arthritis can appear a lot like RA. For instance, some people with it can have rheumatoid factor (an indicator of autoimmune disease such as RA) in the later stages of the disease. The symptom such as lumps under the skin (a consequence of sodium urate build ups) in gout can resemble the symptom of RA such as nodules, too.

And again, the cause of each disease is different, that’s why the treatments are also entirely different.

But is there a link between both diseases?

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