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Picture of Gout

Picture of Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs due to buildup of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid crystals form in the joints -- often in the big toe -- and cause redness, pain, swelling, and stiffness. Uric acid is a byproduct of purines, which are found in the body naturally as well as in foods including beans, peas, anchovies, and liver. Excess uric acid is normally removed by the kidneys. Uric acid crystals can accumulate in the joints when the body produces too much of it or when the kidneys do not effectively remove it. Eating a diet high in purine-rich foods may also lead to the buildup of uric acid. The risk of gout is also linked to obesity, increased alcohol intake, high blood pressure, and kidney disease. Demonstration of uric acid levels in the blood and uric acid crystals in joint fluid may aid in the diagnosis of gout.

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Text Reference: "What Is Gout?" National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.