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What Is Gout?

Gout is a medical condition that is characterized by the swelling of the joints. When this happens, the individual may suffer from mild to extreme pain, depending on the severity of the gout. Usually, the joint at the base of the big toe is the most affected area. The cause of gout is high levels of uric acid in a person’s system.

While the joint of the base of the big toe - the metatarsal-phalangeal joint - is the most affected area of the body when gout hits, a person with gout may also experience problems in other parts of the body. It is not uncommon for people with gout to experience inflammation and pain in the wrists, knees, heels, and fingers. More than the pain and inflammation, other symptoms such as fatigue and fever may also become apparent. Usually, a gout attack starts at night. This is due to the fact that the body’s temperature is normally lower at this time.

When a person’s uric acid levels become too high, gout may occur. There are a variety of reasons that can cause the excessive uric acid levels. Some people have a genetic predisposition for this condition. Sometimes, the body is unable to excrete uric acid efficiently. Another reason is due to the person’s lifestyle. Food such as meat, seafood, and beans contain high levels of uric acid. Alcoholic drinks also may trigger an increase in uric acid levels.

The main thing to do when one suffers from a gout attack is to deal with the immediate symptoms. Medication that will take down the swelling and pain is necessary. In the long term, a lifestyle change may be needed, as well as other medication and treatments.

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