Advertisement

What is gout?

Gout, also called gouty arthritis, is a condition where a chronically-elevated uric acid in a genetically predisposed patient supersaturates urate, leading to the development of crystals that are deposited in joints, soft tissues, tendons, or virtually anywhere. This can also occur in the kidneys. Generally gout is a clinical disease with chronic arthritic symptoms starting after puberty in men and after menopause in women.
Gout is a painful disease that occurs when uric acid, a normal waste product, builds up in the blood and forms crystals in the joints or kidneys.

Uric acid normally dissolves in the blood, processes through the kidneys and leaves the body in the urine. If the body makes extra uric acid, or if the kidneys cannot clear enough of it, then uric acid levels in the blood will become too high, a condition known as hyperuricemia.

Hyperuricemia is not a disease and may not cause problems, but if it continues for a long time and conditions in the body are right, crystals may form and cause gout. Most experts recommend that uric acid levels stay below 6.0 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) in order to prevent gout attacks.
Gout is a disease involving the deposition of crystals in and around joints. These crystals are made of uric acid and are seen almost as a foreign invader or infection to the immune system. The uric acid triggers immune inflammation, leading to redness, warmth, swelling and a good deal of pain in the affected joints. High levels of uric acid in the blood, from a variety of causes, leads to the deposition of these crystals in joints and around the joint tissue. The most common and classic presentation of gout is termed podagra. Podagra is the painful swelling of the joint at the base of the big toe, so painful that even a bed sheet brushing against it causes pain. Gout can progress to involve many other joints and is treated with a number of anti-inflammatory agents during flares, and ultimately by lowering the uric acid level in the blood.
Christopher Chiodo, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in men, and its incidence has increased since the late 1980s. Gout causes arthritic symptoms when uric acid, a normal byproduct of digestion, accumulates in the joints. A person with gout either makes too much uric acid or cannot excrete it properly. As a result, the uric acid forms crystals that settle in the joints and cause inflammation, sudden jabs of pain, soreness, redness, and swelling. In the foot, gout most often affects the joint at the base of the big toe.
Gout is a type of arthritis caused by excess uric acid in the blood, resulting in an accumulation around the joints. Over time, the body produces excess uric acid, excretes less than usual, or produces more and excretes less, causing the level of blood uric acid to gradually increase. At times these joint deposits can trigger attacks of severe inflammation with pain, swelling, warmth, and redness around the joint.

Gout most commonly involves one joint, usually the first toe. The attacks are sudden and painful with touch or movement, such as experiencing severe pain with even the weight of bed sheets. Blood tests and an examination of a small sample of joint fluid can confirm the diagnosis of gout. A cortisone medication can help the acute gout attack resolve in just a few days.
Diet for a Pain-Free Life: A Revolutionary Plan to Lose Weight, Stop Pain, Sleep Better and Feel Great in 21 Days, ADA...sound nutritional advice...do-able, delicious..a godsend to pain sufferers.

More About this Book

Diet for a Pain-Free Life: A Revolutionary Plan to Lose Weight, Stop Pain, Sleep Better and Feel Great in 21 Days, ADA...sound nutritional advice...do-able, delicious..a godsend to pain sufferers.

Do you wake up each morning aching with joint or muscle pain? Have you been trying to lose stubborn belly fat for years? Do you wish you could be active without pain medications? Look no further:...

Gout is a form of arthritis, also known as acute gouty arthritis, that causes painful swelling of the joints. Gout often first occurs in the feet, particularly in the big toes. Like other forms of arthritis, chronic attacks can grow progressively worse and affect joints in the ankles, heels, knees, elbows, fingers, and wrists. Gout often occurs in middle age and later stages of life. Symptoms can be managed with medications.

Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
Gout is a common type of arthritis caused by an increased concentration of uric acid in biological fluids. Uric acid is created from the breakdown of purine, a molecule found in DNA and RNA. In gout, uric acid crystals are deposited in joints, tendons, kidneys, and other tissues, where they cause considerable inflammation and damage. Gout may lead to debilitation by the uric acid deposits around the joints and tendons, and deposits in the kidney may result in kidney failure. 
Encyclopedia of Healing Foods

More About this Book

Encyclopedia of Healing Foods

From the bestselling authors of The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, the most comprehensive and practical guide available to the nutritional benefits and medicinal properties of virtually everything...

Continue Learning about Gout

Keep Gout In Check
Keep Gout In Check
Swollen digits that often signal a gout attack are an ever-increasing menace. Overall prevalence of gout in North America has jumped two- to four-fold...
Read More
What do I need to know about caring for someone with gout?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
When symptoms flare up, affected joints can be very painful to move and to touch. Ice can be helpful...
More Answers
How does gout affect the body?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Gout affects the joints in the feet, legs, and arms. Initial attacks often occur in a single joint i...
More Answers
How Can Eating Cherries Help Gout?
How Can Eating Cherries Help Gout?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.