Gout is Like Rock Candy

Gout is like rock candy.

That always raises eyebrows and makes people hungry. Rock candy is made by creating a supersaturated solution of water and sugar,  introducing new sugar crystals, and waiting for evaporation, the  new crystals will attract the crystals being abandoned by the evaporation process. In rock candy the large crystals resemble their microscopic cousins.

Uric acid crystals look like small sharp needle shaped pipettes. When the body cannot  fully process purines from diet, excessive uric acid is one result and when the saturation in the blood is high enough clusters form and these are also thin and sharp.  The crystals can cause micro tears in tissues leading to inflammation, discoloration and pain. The body attempts to encapsulate the crystal culprits to stop the damage and tophi are formed. When crystals have been captured and converted to tophi,  the gout attack is over as long as the super saturated condition no longer exists.

Individual tophus may break, however, usually with aggressive walking , and become  locally saturated and draw more uric acid from the blood stream and surrounding tissues even if the overall system is not overloaded with uric acid and the cycle returns as long as the local area contains more uric acid than it can assimilate   Uric acid crystals can also form in the kidneys causing some of the more painful kidney stones.  I have seen a friend go back and forth between kidney issues and gout attacks  and have both issues resolve after lifestyle changes being free from attack for years.

I’ve never known anyone else to make the gout- rock candy analogy so maybe I’m crazy  or perhaps dyslexia works for me. But, in my experience, when gout sufferers  increase their liquid intake, decrease their purine consumption  and  engage in lymphatic cleansing programs,  thus  reducing the concentrations of uric acid in their affected areas, gout occurrences decrease in intensity and frequency



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