Gout (Gouty Arthritis)
Catherine Burt Driver, MD
Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
- Gout facts
- What is gout?
- What causes gout?
- What are risk factors for gout?
- What are symptoms and signs of gout?
- How is gout diagnosed?
- When should gout be treated?
- What is the treatment for gout?
- Do gout medications have any side effects?
- What foods should people with gout avoid?
- What complications are associated with gout?
- What is the prognosis of gout?
- Is it possible to prevent gout?
- What research is being done on gout?
- Take the Gout Quiz
- Gout Slideshow
- Slideshow: Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Gout FAQs
- Patient Comments: Gout - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Gout - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Gout - Diet
- Patient Comments: Gout - Experience
- Find a local Rheumatologist in your town
- Gout is a type of arthritis that causes inflammation, usually in one joint, that begins suddenly.
- Gouty arthritis is caused by the deposition of crystals of uric acid in a joint.
- Gout can cause nodules under the skin; these nodules are known as tophi.
- The most reliable method to diagnose gout is to have fluid removed from an inflamed joint and examined under a microscope for uric acid crystals.
- Chronic gout is treated using medications that lower the uric acid level in the body.
- Left untreated, gout can cause irreversible joint damage, kidney problems, and deposits of uric acid in the tissues (tophi).
- Triggers for gout attacks include surgery, dehydration, beverages sweetened with sugar or high fructose corn syrup, beer, liquor, red meat, and seafood.
- Cherries may help prevent gout attacks.
What is gout?
Gout is a type of arthritis. Gout causes sudden joint inflammation, usually in one joint. Severe gout can sometimes affect many joints at once. This is known as polyarticular gout.
What causes gout?
Gout is caused by the accumulation in the joint of crystals of a byproduct chemical of metabolism known as uric acid. When uric acid crystals accumulate, it causes inflammation in a joint. Joint inflammation causes pain, redness, heat, and swelling of the joint.
An elevated uric acid level in the bloodstream leads to uric acid accumulation in the tissues of a joint. Uric acid is normally found in the body and is a normal byproduct of the way the body breaks down certain proteins called purines. Causes of an elevated uric acid level (hyperuricemia) in the bloodstream include genetics, obesity, certain medications such as diuretics (water pills), and chronic decreased kidney function.
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