Gout is a form of arthritis. There are many different types of arthritis, but all result in short-...
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Gout is a form of arthritis. There are many different types of arthritis, but all result in short-term or ongoing inflammation of one or more joints, often with pain or stiffness. Gout causes sudden, severe pain, tenderness, and redness in and around joints, particularly toe joints. It is more common in men. Just as there are many types of arthritis, there are many causes, including infection, aging, injury, and autoimmune disease. Gout results from problems with the breakdown and elimination of a waste product your body forms called uric acid. Uric acid forms from the breakdown of chemicals called purines. Purines come from cells in your body as they die and are replaced, and from foods you eat. The last stage in the breakdown of purines is uric acid. Normally, uric acid travels through your bloodstream to your kidneys, to be eliminated in your urine. Sometimes, however, your body produces too much uric acid, or does not eliminate enough to keep levels from building up in your blood. In some people, high blood levels of uric acid can lead to formation of needle-like sodium urate crystals in joints or soft tissue. These sharp crystals can cause the symptoms of gout. Treatment for gout includes medications to reduce inflammation and lower high blood levels of uric acid.