Gout occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of uric acid and its excretion. This can occur either because too much is produced or because there are problems with its excretion. When the uric acid crystals accumulate in the joints, it lead to acute inflammation. The attacks are usually recurrent and most commonly affect the elbow, knee, hand, foot, ankle, arm ,shoulder and especially the base of the big toe. Physiological stress, such as occurs following surgery or the use of diuretics, may precipitate an attack. This disorder occurs over 90% of the time in men, there is frequently a family history of gout and the affected individual is usually over 40 years of age. Pseudogout, which is a disorder caused by the deposit of calcium salt crystals, may be confused with gout. The age of onset is usually 70 and men and women are equally affected.
Causes of Gout
Cause is due to a high level of uric acid in the blood due. This is due to increased production of uric acid or decreased elimination of uric acid by the kidneys.
Signs and Symptoms of Gout
Symptoms of gout include the sudden onset of severe pain in an inflamed joint. Most commonly, this is the base of the big toe or larger joints. The involved joints appear red, hot, swollen, tender. Systemic signs, such as fever, may occur. The symptoms usually gradually subside over a week or two. Sometimes, chronic accumulation of uric acid will produce bumps on the skin, called tophi. These occur most commonly on the ear.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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