Slideshow: Watch & Learn About Gout

Reviewed by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR on Thursday, September 08, 2011

Gouty arthritis is a painful condition that results from crystals of uric acid depositing in joint tissues, causing attacks of joint inflammation (arthritis).

Gouty arthritis is a painful condition that results from crystals of uric acid depositing in joint tissues, causing attacks of joint inflammation (arthritis).

Approximately 6 million people in the United States suffer from attacks of gout.

Approximately 6 million people in the United States suffer from attacks of gout.

Obesity, weight gain, alcohol intake, high blood pressure, abnormal kidney function, and certain drugs can promote the development of gout.

Obesity, weight gain, alcohol intake, high blood pressure, abnormal kidney function, and certain drugs can promote the development of gout.

Gouty arthritis is characterized by a rapid onset of pain in the affected joint followed by warmth, swelling, reddish discoloration, and marked tenderness.

Gouty arthritis is characterized by a rapid onset of pain in the affected joint followed by warmth, swelling, reddish discoloration, and marked tenderness.

An elderly man suffers from acute gouty arthritis on his big toe.

An elderly man suffers from acute gouty arthritis on his big toe.

Severe gout in the fingers results in large, hard deposits of crystals of uric acid. These deposits are called tophi.

Severe gout in the fingers results in large, hard deposits of crystals of uric acid. These deposits are called tophi.

Here is an example of gout affecting the elbow.

Here is an example of gout affecting the elbow.

Using a sterile syringe and needle, fluid is withdrawn from the inflamed joint and then analyzed for uric acid crystals.

Using a sterile syringe and needle, fluid is withdrawn from the inflamed joint and then analyzed for uric acid crystals.

This fluid was obtained from crystal deposits in a patient with gout.

This fluid was obtained from crystal deposits in a patient with gout.

Bright, needle-like uric acid crystals are best viewed with a polarizing microscope (left). Needles of urate crystals under polarized microscopy are on the right.

Bright, needle-like uric acid crystals are best viewed with a polarizing microscope (left). Needles of urate crystals under polarized microscopy are on the right.

Prevention of gout includes maintaining adequate fluid intake and reducing alcohol consumption.

Prevention of gout includes maintaining adequate fluid intake and reducing alcohol consumption.

Additional prevention methods include weight reduction and dietary changes.

Additional prevention methods include weight reduction and dietary changes.

Medical treatment includes pain relievers such as Tylenol, antiinflammatory medicines, and other medicines specific for gout medications.

Medical treatment includes pain relievers such as Tylenol, antiinflammatory medicines, and other medicines specific for gout medications.

Active research is ongoing in a variety of fields related to gout and hyperuricemia.

Active research is ongoing in a variety of fields related to gout and hyperuricemia.

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