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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.

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1. The signs of gout

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:

  • Intense joint pain - Most gout attacks occur in the big toe, but other body joints can be affected as well, including ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, and fingers.
  • Lingering discomfort - When the severe pain lessens, discomfort persists for days or weeks. Attacks afterward are likely to last longer and spread to other joints.
  • Inflammation and redness - The affected joint swells, becomes tender and often turns red.
  • Limited range of motion - Usually the affected person can not move joints normally.
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    This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.