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Gout is a type of arthritis that causes inflammation of joints due to excess uric acid build-up in the blood. It is a disorder of purine metabolism in which high levels of uric acid accumulate in the body. It affects one joint at a time, usually the big toe joint. Gout is a common and treatable form of inflammatory arthritis that affects almost 4% of adults in the US.

Symptoms and Signs of Gout:

  • Gout flares with symptoms of acute arthritis: Pain, swelling, throbbing sensation, heat, redness, difficulty moving the affected joint.

  • The big toe, knee, and ankle joints are affected the most.

  • Gout flares can start rapidly and can last days or weeks, followed by periods of remission. Usually, symptoms don't show before another flare begins again suddenly.

  • Chronic gout is also known as gouty arthritis, and it causes joint deformity, limited motion, and chronic pain.

Causes of Gout:

  • High uric acid levels in your body are the main factors. Your body either produces too much uric acid or has a hard time getting rid of the uric acid.

  • Gout can be genetic or forms due to aging. It is more common in older people.

  • Gout can develop in people with diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, sickle cell anemia, other anemias, leukemia, and other blood cancers. It may also occur if a person is taking medications that interfere with removing uric acid from the body. Medications such as hydrochlorothiazide and other water pills can cause gout.

Risk Factors:

  • Diet: Levels of uric acid increase when a diet is rich in meats, seafood, sweet beverages, alcohol consumption, and beer.

  • Obesity: Being overweight causes your body to produce more uric acid, which will cause a strain on your kidneys because they will have a more difficult time trying to eliminate the uric acid from your body.

  • Age and Sex: Gout is more common in men. They are more likely to develop the disease at an earlier age, usually between 30 and 50. Although women have lower uric acid levels, they are more likely to develop gout after menopause.

  • Family History of Gout: Gout is genetic, if you know someone in your family who has it there is a high probability that you may also develop the disease.


  • Gout can be treated and managed by medical treatment and self-management strategies. Consult your provider to determine how high your uric acid levels in the blood are.

  • Your health care provider may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen or steroids.

  • Diet and lifestyle changes may help prevent future gout attacks. Losing weight, engaging in daily exercise, limiting the intake of red meat and sugary beverages, and decreasing alcohol consumption can help prevent future gout attacks.

  • Eating less purine-rich foods and changing or stopping medications like diuretics may also help.

Consult with Arrowhead Orthopaedics providers to learn more about managing and preventing Gout.

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