What is gout?

Gout is a type of arthritis that affects the joints, usually the big toe. It causes sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness and tenderness. An attack of gout can occur suddenly, often at night. The joint may be so swollen that the person cannot even put a shoe on.

Is gout dangerous?

Gout is not usually a dangerous disease. However, it can be very painful. If left untreated, gout can lead to joint damage and other problems such as kidney stones. People with gout either produce too much uric acid or their bodies cannot get rid of it properly. Uric acid builds up in the blood and forms crystals in the joints. These crystals cause the pain, swelling and inflammation of gout.

Can gout be cured?

There is no cure for gout, but it can be managed with medication. With treatment, most people with gout can enjoy a good quality of life.

What foods cause Gout?

There are certain foods that can trigger a gout attack. These include organ meats, anchovies, herring, asparagus and mushrooms. They are also found in alcoholic beverages, especially beer.

Who gets gout?

Gout most commonly affects men, however it can occur at any age. People with gout often have a family history of the disease. Other risk factors for gout include obesity, high blood pressure, kidney disease and certain medications (such as diuretics, low-dose aspirin and niacin).

What is the best way to prevent gout?

The best way to prevent gout is to maintain a healthy weight, drink plenty of fluids, limit alcohol intake and avoid foods that are high in purines. If you have gout, your doctor may prescribe medication to lower your uric acid level or to relieve the pain of an attack.