Gout

Overview

This condition is a form of inflammatory arthritis
that results in painful attacks on the joints. It can
cause swelling and redness, and in some cases,
it can lead to lumpy deposits that can be seen
under the skin. It can also lead to the
development of kidney stones.

Causes

Gout is caused by a build-up of uric acid crystals
in the joints. Uric acid is a waste product formed
during the breakdown of certain foods. In a
healthy person, uric acid is removed from the
blood by the kidneys and excreted in the urine. In
a person with gout, the kidneys fail to remove
enough uric acid.

Food Triggers

Gout can be triggered by eating foods that are
high in purines, which are naturally-occurring
compounds commonly found in animal cells.
Purine-rich foods include red meat (especially
organ meat), bacon, certain types of seafood,
alcohol, foods that contain yeast, and gravies
and rich sauces. Some vegetables are also high
in purines. These include peas, beans, lentils,
spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, and cauliflower.

Other Risk Factors

Uric acid level fluctuations can also be triggered
by other factors such as trauma, medications,
chemotherapy, dehydration, and starvation. Gout
is more common in men than women, and it is
more common in older people. Being overweight
can also increase the risk of the disease.

Symptoms

In many cases, the first joint affected is the big
toe. The ankles, knees, wrists and elbows are
also commonly affected. A gout flareup can lead
to intense pain, swelling and redness in the
affected joints. The joints may become warm and
stiff, and the person may develop a fever. An
attack usually lasts for 3 to 10 days, and then
subsides on its own. The next attack may not
occur for months or years. With time, attacks
may occur more frequently and last for longer
periods.

Treatment

Treatment options include medication to decrease
the severity of attacks, modification of diet, weight
loss, exercise and drinking plenty of water.

Gout in the Knee

Knee Arhroscopy on a knee with urate crystals.  Gout is a medical condition usually characterized by recurrent attacks of acuteinflammatory arthritis—a red, tender, hot, swollen joint. The metatarsal-phalangeal joint at the base of the big toe is the most commonly affected. However, it may also present itself as tophi, kidney stones, or urate nephropathy. It is caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood which crystallize and are deposited in joints, tendons, and surrounding tissues.

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