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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is gout?
Gout is a painful condition that usually affects the large joint of the big toe, but can also affect other joints in the body. It causes inflammation in the joints, causing them to become painful and swollen.
What causes gout?
Uric acid is a chemical that is created when your body breaks down certain foods and drinks. Gout is a condition that occurs when uric acid builds up in the bloodstream, which results in urate crystals forming in the joints. The crystals can cause inflammation of the …
Who gets gout?
Anyone can get gout, but there are some factors that can increase your chance of developing it. You are more likely to get gout if you: have family members with gout; are obese; are over 40 years old; are male; take certain types of medication, such as diuretics; have kidney …
What are the symptoms of gout?
The main symptom of gout is intense pain in the large joint at the base of the big toe. Gout can sometimes affect other joints, including the knees, hands and wrists. Affected joints can be red and swollen and tender when touched.
How is gout diagnosed?
To work out whether you have gout, your doctor may give you a physical exam and do some tests. They may do a joint fluid test, using a needle to collect some fluid from the affected joint. They will then send the fluid to the laboratory where it will be examined to …
How is gout treated?
An attack of gout is usually treated with medication to control the associated inflammation and pain. There are also medications available that may help to prevent future episodes of gout.
Can gout be prevented?
There are specific lifestyle factor and medications that may help prevent gout. Lifestyle factors include drinking lots of water, avoiding alcohol and avoiding foods that can be broken down into uric acid. There are also medications available that can block the …
Is gout serious?
In some people gout may lead to serious complications such as recurrent gout, whereby gout symptoms keep returning, and advanced gout. In advanced gout uric acid crystals collects under the skin in lumps or nodules called 'gouty' tophi. The lumps can appear on your …
About this article
Author: Dr Joanne Van der Velden PhD, BSc (Hons)
First answered: 24 Oct 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.1 out of 5
Votes: 906 (Click smiley face below left to rate)