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What is Gout?

By Craig M. Wax, DO

Gout is known by the moderate to severe pain that comes from the deposition of uric acid in the joints.  It can also be deposited in other organs such as the kidneys.  Most commonly, the pain is noticed in the area of the big toe.  In an acute gout attack, the pain can be so intense that merely the touching of a bed sheet to the involved joint sends sharp pain impulses.

Gout is more likely to occur in a person who has relatives with a history of gout.  It occurs in 20 times more men than women.  It is caused by the inability of certain people's bodies to break down purines properly.  Uric acid, a breakdown product of purines, builds up and deposits in the joints as painful crystals.

Purines must be minimized in the diet.  Alcohol, organ meats (ie. liver, kidneys), fish and certain vegetables must be avoided to prevent gout attacks.  Also, it is quite helpful to drink 8-10 glasses of water a day.

Your doctor may order blood, urine and/or joint fluid testing to confirm the diagnosis.  In late stages, an x-ray of the involved area may be clinically useful.  There are medication to reduce the uric acid level in your blood.  Pain medicines are also available to help until the acute attack ends.

Avoiding excess purine intake and increasing your daily intake of water is the best way to prevent gout.

Craig M. Wax, DO, LLC of Mullica Hill, NJ provides information on health, nutrition, family medicine, preventive medicine, wellness, natural treatments, alternative medicine, integrative medicine, osteopathic medicine and just plain common sense.
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