Gout is a form of arthritis.
Gout is a painful type of arthritis that develops when uric acid builds up in the body, leading to the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints. The big toe is a common site affected by gout, but it can also affect other joints including the knees, ankles, heels, or toes. Affected joints are painful, red, swollen, and warm.
Gout is most often seen in ____________.
Gout occurs more often in adults than in children. It is also more common in men than in women. The disease is particularly common in men from 40 to 50 years of age. Women rarely develop gout prior to menopause.
Gout is caused by the buildup of what substance in the body?
Uric acid crystals that build up in the joints, causing inflammation, are the cause of the characteristic symptoms of gout. Uric acid deposits can also occur beneath the skin (called tophi), and uric acid can also form kidney stones.
Uric acid is usually eliminated from the body by way of ____________.
Uric acid is a product formed when substances called purines are broken down. Purines are part of normal human tissues and are contained in many foods. Uric acid is normally carried in the blood stream and excreted in the urine. If the kidneys do not remove enough uric acid from the body, blood levels of uric acid are elevated (known as hyperuricemia). Hyperuricemia can also be caused by eating foods that are particularly rich in purines like liver, anchovies, dried beans, and gravies. Although hyperuricemia is not dangerous for the body, it sometimes leads to the formation of uric acid crystals and the development of gout.
People with gout should avoid consuming...
Because alcohol interferes with the body's ability to remove uric acid, people with gout should avoid drinking alcohol. Alcoholic drinks, drugs, an illness, or even a stressful event can trigger an attack of gout. Attacks usually last for 3-10 days. Another attack may not occur for months to years, but many people with gout experience more frequent and longer attacks over time.
Symptoms of gout may include…
Symptoms of gout generally include the following:
- Warmth, pain, swelling, and extreme tenderness in a joint
- Very red or purplish skin around the affected joint, which may appear to be infected
- As the gout attack subsides, the skin around the affected joint may peel and feel itchy
What is the most common site of a gout attack?
The most common sign of gout is a nighttime attack of swelling, tenderness, redness, and sharp pain in the big toe. Gout attacks also appear in feet, ankles, knees, fingers, heels, and elbows.
An excessive amount of uric acid in the body can also lead to what condition?
An excessive amount of uric acid in the body can lead to kidney stones.
What increases a person risk for developing gout?
Gout tends to run in families; from 20% to 80% of those affected have a family history of the disease. Diets high in purines, male gender, being overweight, lead exposure, and alcohol consumption are other risk factors.
Images provided by:
NIAMSD. What Is Gout?
NIH Senior Health. What Is Gout?
NIAMSD. Questions and Answers about Gout.
This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information:
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the eMedicineHealth Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.