Gout is an intensely painful form of arthritis that causes the joints to become red, swollen, and stiff. Symptoms are most likely to develop in the big toe. Other commonly affected joints include the ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers, and elbows. Individuals typically experience acute attacks of gout. In other words, symptoms develop suddenly and go away after a couple weeks.
This type of arthritis occurs when there is too much uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is a waste product that forms when the body breaks down purines, which are chemicals commonly found in red meat, poultry, and fish. In healthy people, uric acid is continuously broken down in order to maintain normal levels in the blood. A person's gender, genetic makeup, hormonal changes, diet, and some medications may cause may cause the body to produce too much uric acid or prevent it from being properly broken down.
The first gout attack typically goes away after one to two weeks without treatment or one to two days with treatment. If the person does not receive treatment, a second attack may occur anywhere from six month to two years later. If individuals still do not receive treatment, they may continue to have attacks that will probably last longer, affect more joints, and be more painful.
Symptoms of gout can be treated, and medications and lifestyle changes can help prevent gout attacks from recurring.
Pseudogout is a medical condition that causes symptoms very similar to gout. However, pseudogout occurs when there is too much calcium phosphate in the blood, not uric acid. Although the risk of experiencing pseudogout appears to increase with age, most cases have no known cause. Other factors, including genetics, excess iron storage, low magnesium levels in the blood, and an overactive parathyroid gland, may contribute to the development of pseudogout.

Related Terms

Animal proteins, arthritis, corticosteroids, gouty arthritis, hyperuricemia, kidney disease, kidney failure, kidney stones, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs, podagra, pseudogout, purines, tophi, urate crystals, uric acid.