When we hear the word “crystals,” we immediately think of fashion, glamor, and beauty. People’s fascination with crystals and other gemstones dates back thousands of years. Other crystals, on the other hand (pun intended), have a much darker side to them. That is certainly true of gout crystals, which are thought to be the primary cause of gout flare-ups.
Since gout crystals play such a big role in gout flare-ups, it’s worth learning more about these not-so-glamorous formations. Here’s what you need to know.
The Discovery of Gout Crystals
For centuries, the cause of gout was thought to be an excess of food and wine that only the wealthy and powerful could afford. As a result, gout was dubbed the “King’s Disease.” However, with advancements in medical studies, it has become obvious that gout can affect anyone regardless of your royal status. Studies also show the risk factors may differ from one person to the next.
One of the pioneers of microscopy, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723), was the first to describe the appearance of crystals from a gouty tophus. At the time, their chemical makeup was pretty much unknown. Nevertheless, their crystalline, needle-like forms made it evident that they played a significant part in gout attacks.