Gout is one of the most painful forms of arthritis it occurs when too much uric acid builds up in the body the buildup of…

Try: Gout is one of the most painful forms of arthritis it occurs when too much uric acid builds up in the body the buildup of uric acid can lead to sharp uric acid crystal deposits in joints often in the big toe deposits of uric acid called tophi that look like lumps under the skin kidney stones from uric acid crystals in the kidneys for many people the first attack of gout occurs in the big toe often the attack wakes a person from sleep the toe is very sore red warm and swollen gout can cause pain swelling redness heat stiffness in joints in addition to the big toe gout can affect the insteps ankles heels knees wrists fingers elbows a gout attack can be brought on by stressful events alcohol or drugs or another illness early attacks usually get better within 3 to 10 days even without treatment the next attack may not occur for months or even years causes gout is caused by the buildup of too much uric acid in the body uric acid comes from the breakdown of substances called purines purines are found in all of your body’s tissues they are also in many foods such as liver dried beans and peas and anchovies normally uric acid dissolves in the blood it passes through the kidneys and out of the body in urine but uric acid can build up in the blood when the body increases the amount of uric acid it makes the kidneys do not get rid of enough uric acid a person eats too many foods high in purines when uric acid levels in the blood are high it is called hyperuricemia most people with hyperuricemia do not develop gout but if excess uric acid crystals form in the body gout can develop risk factors you are more likely to have gout if you have family members with the disease are a man are overweight drink too much alcohol eat too many foods rich in purines have an enzyme defect that makes it hard for the body to break down purines are exposed to lead in the environment have had an organ transplant use some medicines such as diuretics aspirin cyclosporine or levodopa take the vitamin niacin treatments doctors use medicines to treat an acute attack of gout there are several things you can do to stay healthy if you have gout these include take the medicines your doctor prescribes as directed tell your doctor about all the medicines and vitamins you take plan followup visits with your doctor maintain a healthy balanced diet avoid foods that are high in purines and drink plenty of water exercise regularly and maintain a healthy body weight ask your doctor about how to lose weight safely fast or extreme weight loss can increase uric acid levels in the blood information references "what is gout fast facts an easy-to-read series of publications for the public" by u s department of health and human services 2010 available at www niams nih gov

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Keywords: Gout pain swelling swollen joint

*This information is listed as a Fact Sheet and is not explicitly medically licensed

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