Gout is a complex yet common form of inflammatory arthritis, and one of the most painful. It typically affects one joint at a time, often the big toe joint. It is common for those with gout to experience a combination of flares and remissions.
Affected areas with gout can include the following:
— Bursae (cushion-like sacs between tissues)
— Tendon sheaths (membranes surrounding tendons)
Gout is most often detected in the big toe but also commonly affects the lesser toe joints, ankle, and knee. A tell-tale sign of gout is a dark red or purple joint that is swollen and very tender. Your doctor might suggest blood tests and X-rays or may want to draw a sample of fluid from your joint while you are having an attack.
What causes gout?
Gout is caused by hyperuricemia, a condition where too much uric acid accumulates in the body, causing crystals of uric acid to form in the connective tissue and joint spaces. These deposits cause swelling, redness, heat, pain, and stiffness in the joint. Gout attacks often follow eating purine-rich foods, like red meat, organ meat, and some kinds of seafood, such as anchovies and sardines.
Being male, overweight, and having certain health conditions like hypertension, kidney disease, or diabetes are known to increase chances of gout, according to the Mayo Clinic. Drinking alcohol and certain medications can also make gout worse. In older adults, some blood pressure medicines, like diuretics, can also increase the chances of gout.
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