Gout (Gouty Arthritis)

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Gout facts

  • Gout is a type of arthritis that causes inflammation, usually in one joint, that begins suddenly.
  • Gouty arthritis is caused by the deposition of crystals of uric acid in a joint.
  • Gout can cause symptoms and signs such as
  • The most reliable method to diagnose gout is to have fluid removed from an inflamed joint and examined under a microscope for uric acid crystals.
  • Chronic gout is treated using medications that lower the uric acid level in the body.
  • Left untreated, gout can cause irreversible joint damage, kidney problems, and tophi.
  • Triggers for gout attacks include surgery, dehydration, beverages sweetened with sugar or high fructose corn syrup, beer, liquor, red meat, and seafood.
  • Cherries may help prevent gout attacks.

What is gout?

Gout is a type of arthritis that causes sudden joint inflammation, usually in one joint. Severe gout can sometimes affect many joints at once. This is known as polyarticular gout.

What causes gout?

Gout is caused by an elevated uric acid level in the bloodstream and accumulation of uric acid crystals. Uric acid crystal deposits in the joint cause inflammation of the joint leading to pain, redness, heat, and swelling. Uric acid is normally found in the body as a normal byproduct of the way the body breaks down certain proteins called purines. Causes of an elevated blood uric acid level (hyperuricemia) include genetics, obesity, certain medications such as diuretics (water pills), and chronic decreased kidney function.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/25/2015

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Read about the gout diet.

Gout Diet

The primary dietary goal for gout is to limit your intake of foods with high amounts of purinein them. Ideally, you will have little or no foods that are high in purine and only small amounts of those with moderate amounts of purine.

Foods considered high in purine content include:

  • Some fish, seafood and shellfish, including anchovies, sardines, mackerel, scallops, herring, mussels, codfish, trout, and haddock
  • Some meats such as bacon, turkey, veal, venison, liver, beef kidney, brain, and sweetbreads
  • Alcoholic beverages