Acute gouty arthritis is an attack of a metabolic disease marked
by uric acid deposits in the joints. The disorder causes
painful arthritis, especially in the joints of the feet and legs.
Gout is a form of acute arthritis that causes severe pain and swelling in the joints.
It most commonly affects the big toe, but may also affect the heel, ankle, hand, wrist, or
elbow. Gout usually comes on suddenly, goes away after 5-10 days, and can keep recurring.
Gout is different from other forms of arthritis because it occurs when there are high
levels of uric acid circulating in the blood, which can cause urate crystals to settle in
the tissues of the joints.
General Information about Gout
Uric acid, which is found naturally in the blood stream, is formed as the body breaks
down waste products, mainly those containing purine, a substance that is produced by the
body and is also found in high concentrations in some foods, including brains, liver,
sardines, anchovies, and dried peas and beans. Normally, the kidneys filter uric acid out
of the blood and excrete it in the urine. Sometimes, however, the body produces too much
uric acid or the kidneys aren't efficient enough at filtering it from the blood, and it
builds up in the blood stream, a condition known as hyperuricemia.
A person's susceptibility to gout may increase because of the inheritance of certain genes
or from being overweight and eating a rich diet. In some cases, another disease (such as
lymphoma, leukemia, or hemolytic anemia) may be the underlying cause of the uric acid
buildup that results in gout.
General information on other causes of Gout
Hyperuricemia doesn't always cause gout. However, over
the course of years, sharp urate crystals build up in the synovial fluid of the joints.
Often, some precipitating event, such as an infection, surgery, a stubbed toe, or even a
heavy drinking binge can cause inflammation. White blood cells, mistaking the urate
crystals for a foreign invader, flood into the joint and surround the crystals, causing
inflammation--in other words, the redness, swelling, and pain that are the hallmarks of a