What is Gout?

Gout is a common, painful form of arthritis. It causes swollen, red, hot and stiff joints. Gout occurs when uric acid builds up in your blood. This happens if your body produces extra acid or does not eliminate enough, or if you eat too many foods with purines, such as liver and dried beans. Pseudogout has similar symptoms and is sometimes confused with gout. However, it is caused by calcium phosphate, not uric acid.

Often, gout first attacks your big toe. It can also attack ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers and elbows.

You are more likely to get gout if you

  • Are a man
  • Have family member with gout
  • Drink alcohol

At first, gout attacks usually get better in days. Eventually, attacks last longer and occur more often. Uric acid buildup can lead to kidney stones. Untreated gout can cause permanent joint and kidney damage. You can treat gout with medicines.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

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