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Gout

Clinical Overview

Gout is a form of arthritis that develops when uric acid crystals lodge in the joints.

Uric acid is a normal product of digestion. It usually is eliminated by being passed out through the urine. If there is a sudden change in the amount of uric acid in the body, gout may develop. Uric acid crystallizes, and those crystals become lodged in the body. When they are lodged in the joints, the surrounding tissue swells up and causes pain.

A first attack of gout will usually be followed by a second, sometimes months later. After the second attack, the gout may occur more frequently, occur in other joints, or last longer each time.

Causes
Changes in uric acid in the body, due to eating/drinking habits or metabolic problems.

Risk Factors

  • Alcohol consumption
  • High-protein diet (especially large amounts of anchovies, liver, kidney, sweetbreads, or sardines)
  • Diuretic drugs (water pills)
  • Some antibiotics
  • Blood diseases like polycythemia and leukemia
  • Male over 60
  • Family history of gout
  • Obesity
  • Thyroid problems
  • Kidney disease
  • Anemia
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Trauma
  • Surgery
  • Radiation treatment

Last updated: Jan-01-09

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