Gout is a particularly painful form of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the body which deposit in the joints.

Overview and Symptoms

Overview and Symptoms

Gout can affect anyone, coming on suddenly with a severe attack of pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in the joints. Most often, it appears at the base of the big toe.

Certain foods eaten in excess can trigger gout, including shellfish, red meat, organ meat, and beverages containing high fructose corn syrup (including sweetened carbonated beverages). High blood pressure, kidney disease, sleep apnea and diabetes also increase your risk for gout. Men are more likely than women to develop this condition; women rarely develop gout until well after menopause.

Gout can be diagnosed based on a review of your medical history, physical exam and blood tests. Your doctor may also collect a sample of fluid from your joint to check for uric acid crystals. In addition, an x-ray of the affected joint may be taken.


Your doctor will likely prescribe medications to treat your pain, reduce inflammation and lower the uric acid in your joint. Certain lifestyle changes may also be recommended such as adjusting your diet, reducing your alcohol intake and losing weight.