Answers FAQ

Gout FAQs

Reviewed by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

Take the Gout Quiz First! Before reading this FAQ, challenge yourself and
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Q:Gout is a form of arthritis. True or False?

A:True. Gout is a form of arthritis. It is also called gouty arthritis. Gout can cause an attack of sudden burning pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint. Over time, gout attacks can harm your joints, tendons, and other tissues.

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Q:Gout is most often seen in whom: Men or Women?

A:Men. Gout is nine times more common in men than in women. It predominantly attacks males after puberty, with a peak age of 75. In women, gout attacks usually occur after menopause.

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Q:Gout is caused by the buildup of what substance in the body?

A:Uric acid. The term gout refers the disease that is caused by an overload of uric acid in the body. Eventually, this leads to painful arthritic attacks.

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Q:What does uric acid do to cause a gout attack?

A:Forms crystals in the joints (as seen in the image above). Normally, uric acid in blood travels to the kidneys, where it passes out in urine. Gout occurs when uric acid builds in the body and forms crystals in the joints or in soft tissue.

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Q:What should people with gout should avoid consuming?

A:Alcohol. Paying attention to one's diet may help manage gout. People with gout should avoid regular daily intake of meat, seafood, and alcohol (especially beer), and drink plenty of water and other fluids.

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Q:What are the symptoms of gout?

A: Symptoms of gout generally include the following: Warmth, pain, swelling, and extreme tenderness in a joint, an very red or purplish skin around the affected joint, which may appear to be infected. As the gout attack subsides, the skin around the affected joint may peel and feel itchy.

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Q:What is the most common site of a gout attack?

A:Big toe. The most common sign of gout is a nighttime attack of swelling, tenderness, redness, and sharp pain in the big toe. Gout attacks also appear in feet, ankles, knees, fingers, heels, and elbows.

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Q:An excessive amount of uric acid in the body can also lead to what condition?

A:Kidney stones. An excessive amount of uric acid in the body can lead to kidney stones.

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Q:What increases a person risk for developing gout?

A:Family history. In addition to having a family history of gout, other risk factors include the following:Being male, obesity, heavy alcohol consumption, diets rich in meat and seafood, use of diuretics, use of aspirin, lead exposure, and frequent dehydration.

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Q:About 5 million in people in the U.S. suffer from gout. True or False?

A:True. Approximately 5 million people in the United States suffer from gout.

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