It is estimated that close to 1.5 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis. Though rheumatoid arthritis is more widely known, gout affects a far larger number of people. One estimate says that gout affects around 8.3 million people in the United States. Both conditions are the effect of inflammation, but they are more different than alike. Rheumatoid arthritis and gout have different causes, treatments, and long-term prognoses.
Gout is a type of inflammatory disease that is caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood. This build-up causes microscopic crystals to form, which triggers the immune system to increase inflammation as a way of protecting the joints. Like arthritis, gout can become a chronic condition. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, however, this inflammation often occurs primarily in the big toe.
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