Gout is characterized by inflamed, painful joints due to the formation of crystal deposits at the joints. Also known as "the disease of kings and the king of diseases," gout affects more men than women and is often associated with obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperlipidemia (high levels of lipids in the blood), and diabetes.
Gout is caused by monosodium urate crystal deposits in the joints, due to an excess of uric acid in the body. The excess of uric acid may be caused by an increase in production by the body, under-elimination of the uric acid by the kidneys, or increased intake of certain foods that metabolize into uric acid in the body. Foods that are high in purines (the component of the food that metabolizes into uric acid) include certain meats, such as game meats, kidney, brains and liver; seafood, such as anchovies, herring, scallops, sardines and mackerel; dried beans, and dried peas. Alcoholic beverages and sugary drinks high in fructose may also increase levels of uric acid in the body. Gout attacks may be triggered by any or all of the following:
Gout is characterized by sudden, recurrent attacks that often occur without warning. Severe, chronic gout may lead to deformity. The following are the most common symptoms of gout. However each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of gout may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and a physical examination, a diagnosis of gout may be confirmed with the examination of a fluid sample from the joint for the presence of urate crystals.
Specific treatment for gout will be determined by your doctor based on:
Treatment may include:
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