Gout and Smoking

Gout and Smoking

Can smoking actually cause gout?

Although there hasn’t been any studies done linking smoking and gout, there are associations where it does increase your uric acid levels in the blood, misbalancing your pH levels by making your body more acidic.

We all know tobacco smoke contains thousands of deadly and dangerous chemicals that cause circulatory problems by constricting your peripheral blood vessels. For each cigarette smoked the arteries constrict for about an hour with the result of 50% reduction in blood flow. Carbon monoxide impedes with your normal oxygen distribution, so poor blood low and decreased oxygen circulation prevent your body from eliminating uric acid efficiently and leaving the excess in your system, forming crystals causing inflammation and a potential gout attack! Yes if you smoke marijuana it has the same impact as cigarettes, don’t lie to yourself! Marijuana is acidifying to the blood and tissues.

I’m not saying that smoking causes gout attacks directly but decreases your overall health by not having your body work optimally increasing your risk of heart disease, diabetes and gout. A previous post explains how gout sufferers have an increased risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.

The chemicals and toxins of cigarettes cause the acidity in your body to increase whereby the lungs and kidneys which are the main toxin-eliminating organs in your body, so by weakening your lungs, it hampers your body’s ability to eliminate the toxins by breathing out more efficiently. People who smoke do not absorb nutrients at the same rate as a non-smoker, and should therefore, eat more servings than the recommended daily allowance of either fruits or vegetables high in vitamin C.

This link between gout and smoking goes even further affecting our cousins of the disease, patients with rheumatoid arthritis (chronic inflammation of the joints and tissue surrounding the joints). More research is available there where a study conducted by Japanese researchers and presented at the AmericanCollege of Rheumatology concluded after the study that there was a strong link between smoking and rheumatoid arthritis which occurred in men who were positive for rheumatoid factor.

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Another study where 30 000 women aged between 55 and 69, enrolled in the Iowa Women’s Health Study since 1986 and the final study was presented in 2000 at the American College of Rheumatology clearly found that the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis was double for smokers compared to non-smokers. Former smokers had a lower risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis than regular smokers; people that never smoked had the lowest risk of them all.

Gout and Sleep Apnea

If you smoke and also have sleep apnea (suffering from shortness of breath while sleeping) you are at a higher risk of a gout attack due to the fact that your oxygen level in your blood decreases causing your cells to go through a destructive process which results your body releasing excess uric acid into your blood. All gout sufferers should be screened for sleep apnea, in order to avoid the development of much more serious diseases that can be life threatening like diabetes, kidney disease, heart attack and heart failure.

In conclusion, gout sufferers who smoke have reported that after giving up smoking, they’ve experienced less gout attack episodes, while those that went back to smoking again experienced increased gout symptoms as their immune system declined. As a former smoker myself which was part of the cause in me developing gout in the first place, I strongly advise you to butt out as soon as possible and if you do find it difficult to quit smoking, seek help from your doctor or support group. It’ll do wonders not only for your gout but your overall health. Start off by trying out the patch.

Posted by Spiro Koulouris

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