Health Information

Gout

What is gout?

Gout is characterized by inflamed, painful joints due to the formation of crystal deposits at the joints. Also known as "the disease of kings and the king of diseases," gout affects more men than women and is often associated with obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperlipidemia (high levels of lipids in the blood), and diabetes.

What causes gout?

Gout is caused by monosodium urate crystal deposits in the joints, due to an excess of uric acid in the body. The excess of uric acid may be caused by an increase in production by the body, under-elimination of the uric acid by the kidneys, or increased intake of certain foods that metabolize into uric acid in the body. Foods that are high in purines (the component of the food that metabolizes into uric acid) include certain meats, seafood, dried beans, and dried peas. Alcoholic beverages may also increase levels of uric acid in the body. Gout attacks may be triggered by any/all of the following:
  • consumption of large quantities of alcohol
  • consumption of large quantities of protein-rich foods
  • fatigue
  • emotional stress
  • minor surgery
  • illness

Treatment for gout:

Specific treatment for gout will be determined by your physician based on:
  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the condition
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, and therapies
  • expectation for the course of the condition
  • your opinion or preference