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Gout is one of the most painful forms of arthritis. It occurs when too much uric acid builds up in the body. The buildup of uric acid can lead to:
For many people, the first attack of gout occurs in the big toe. Often, the attack wakes a person from sleep. The toe is very sore, red, warm, and swollen. In addition to the big toe, gout can affect Instep, Ankles, Heels, Knees, Wrists, Fingers, and Elbows.
Gout can cause Pain, Swelling, Redness, Heat, and Stiffness in joints.
A gout attack can be brought on by stressful events, alcohol or drugs, or another illness. Early attacks usually get better within 3 to 10 days, even without treatment. The next attack may not occur for months or even years.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Signs and symptoms of gout include:
To confirm a diagnosis of gout, doctors may draw a sample of fluid from an inflamed joint to look for crystals associated with gout.
Gout is caused by the buildup of too much uric acid in the body. Uric acid comes from the breakdown of substances called purines. Purines are found in all of your body's tissues. They are also in many foods, such as liver, dried beans and peas, and anchovies.
Normally, uric acid dissolves in the blood. It passes through the kidneys and out of the body in urine. But uric acid can build up in the blood when:
When uric acid levels in the blood are high, it is called hyperuricemia. Most people with hyperuricemia do not develop gout. But if excess uric acid crystals form in the body, gout can develop.
You are more likely to have gout if you: