Gout in children is uncommon. The symptoms associated with this condition are typically not affected by individuals who have not yet experienced puberty. Negative physical conditions which can lead to the condition, however, may be formed in early childhood.
The condition known as gout is caused by the accumulation of uric acid in the joints, typically the wrists, ankles, big toes, and fingers. It usually causes swelling in those joints and surrounding tissues, some redness, and mild to severe pain. This condition usually affects men anywhere between the ages of 13 and 75, and may also present itself in women who have experienced menopause.
Other factors which can aid in the determination of whether an individual will suffer from gout include genetic disposition, diet, and overall health. Those who have descended from a line of gout sufferers are much more likely to suffer from these symptoms. These individuals are often deficient in a key enzyme in the body that helps process purines in food, which can lead to the build up of uric acid. Anyone who eats a diet high in purine containing foods, like meat, trout, and beans, and drinks between one and two alcoholic beverages a day is also at risk. These foods increase the amount of uric acid in the blood and prevent the body from eliminating it.
Even though gout in children does not occur often, their bodies can begin forming excessive uric acid in the blood at a young age. It is uncommon for any child who has not yet gone through puberty to experience a full gout attack, including the swelling and pain that is associated with this type of an episode. Children form their eating habits early in life, however, and these habits will determine the types of food they eat as teens and adults. Male children who are genetically predisposed to gout, and who do not eat a healthy diet or get regular exercise, may experience an attack as soon as they have experienced puberty.
Children who grow up eating a diet high in fructose sugars and low in fiber are statistically more likely to suffer from health problems later in life, including gout. The build-up of sugars and animal proteins in the blood can lead to an elevated amount of uric acid, which can lay the groundwork in the body for a future attack of gout in children. Exercising regularly, increasing the amount of fiber intake in the daily diet, and drinking large amounts of water can reduce the likelihood of gout leading to an attack in adolescence.