Gout is a common yet complex form of arthritis that affects about four percent of American adults. Figures developed by the Arthritis Foundation show that six million men and two million women have gout. It usually comes on suddenly, with severe attacks of pain and swelling, often targeting the big toe. High levels of uric acid in the body causes gout. Factors that increase uric acid include eating a rich diet of red meat, seafood, and drinking high-sugar or fructose beverages. Alcohol consumption, especially beer, increases uric acid levels as well.
Almost all gout attacks occur suddenly, usually at night. The affected joint becomes swollen, feels hot, and even the slightest pressure on it can cause intense pain. The Mayo Clinic lists these signs of gout:
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