What is Gout?

Gout is a very common form of arthritis. It was once known as the “Disease of Kings” because often a rich diet of meat and alcohol will lead to a buildup of uric acid crystals causing a gout flare. Gout usually flares up in one joint at a time and the big toe joint in your foot is often the first affected.


As the uric acid crystals build up in your toe joint, they become very painful and will make it hard to walk and move about. If left untreated, repeated bouts of gout can lead to gouty arthritis, which is a more aggressive form of arthritis.


Gout is most common in men and overweight or obese adults. There is currently no cure for gout, but there are ways to treat and manage your symptoms with medication and diet.

What is gout?

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Signs and Symptoms of Gout

Gout episodes or flares often come on suddenly and can last days or weeks. This may be followed by weeks, months, or even years without symptoms before another flare begins. In addition to affecting the big toe, gout can also affect the other, smaller toe joints, the ankle, and the knee. Symptoms of gout in your joint(s) may involve:

  • Swelling
  • Intense Pain
  • Heat
  • Redness
Cause of Gout

A gout flare occurs when there is too much uric acid in the body, this condition is known as hyperuricemia. Our bodies produce uric acid as it breaks down purines. Purines are found naturally our bodies as well as in the foods we eat.  As the body produces too much uric acid, uric acid crystals (monosodium urate) can build up in our joints, fluids, and tissues. This often is the cause and leads to a gout flare. However, Hyperuricemia does not always cause gout. If you have hyperuricemia, but you do not have any gout symptoms, you do not need to be treated.

Risk Factors For Gout

This list, courtesy of the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), are factors that may make it more likely that you will develop hyperuricemia, which can lead to gout:

  • Being obese
  • Having certain health conditions:
    • Congestive heart failure
    • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
    • Insulin resistance
    • Metabolic syndrome
    • Diabetes
    • Poor kidney function
  • Using certain medications, such as diuretics (water pills)
  • Drinking alcohol – The risk of gout is greater as alcohol consumption rises
  • Eating or drinking food and drinks high in fructose
  • Having a diet high in purines, an organic compound found in some foods, which the body breaks down into uric acid Purine-rich foods include:
    • Red meat
    • Organ meat
    • Some kinds of seafood, such as
      • Anchovies
      • Sardines
      • Mussels
      • Scallops
      • Trout
      • Tuna

Because of your charitable donations to the ANRF, numerous grants to researchers in osteoarthritis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis, gout and related autoimmune diseases have been given. ANRF is committed to getting your donations to the researchers as 91 cents of every dollar goes toward this important arthritis research. Be sure to follow our research progress and remain updated on the most recent findings and treatments at CureArthritis.org/Arthritis-Research today.   *Statistics and facts from the CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, www.CDC.gov