You wake up one morning with excruciating pain in the first knuckle of your big toe. Your knuckle is hot and tender. You go to the medical clinic, and your doctor runs some tests on you. When you return to the clinic, the doctor tells you that you have gout, which is a type of arthritis. The physician also tells you that the symptoms of gout can be managed with medications and lifestyle changes. After your first gout flares up, you're ready to make changes to your lifestyle to avoid having a gout flare up again.
Too much uric acid causes gout in your bloodstream. The excess uric acid migrates to joints and crystallizes, causing pain and inflammation. The episodes where the joint becomes swollen and painful are called gout flare-ups. Substances called purines, which exist in the foods you eat, are converted into uric acid and excreted through your kidneys. When you eat foods high in purines, your kidneys may not be able to process all the uric acid out of your bloodstream.
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