Gout has the unique distinction of being one of the most frequently recorded medical conditions throughout history and is sometimes considered a 'rich man's' disease because it is often associated with the intake of too much rich food and alcohol. But what is gout? What causes gout? And what are some of the risk factors that might lead to the development of gout?
What is gout?
Gout occurs when there are abnormal, elevated levels of uric acid in the blood and tissues. When uric acid accumulates in the blood and tissues, it can crystallize in a joint, forming tiny, jagged, needle-shaped crystals. Urid acid crystals then trigger an intense inflammatory response and a reaction from the immune system that causes a painful arthritis condition called a gout attack. Gout commonly affects the big toe, but other joints or surrounding tissues of the instep, ankle, knee, wrist, elbow and fingers can also be affected.
Stages of gout
Gout is classified as either primary or secondary, depending on the cause of high levels of uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia). Staging and classifying gout are important aspects of diagnosis, as treatment will follow. The stages of gout include:
Doctors think that gout may be caused by a combination of factors. What are these causes of gout and what can you avoid to decrease your risk of developing the arthritic condition? Read here to learn more about what causes gout.
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