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Gout symptoms in foot

What Is Gout?

Gout is a painful type of arthritis commonly felt in a big toe. Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood known as hyperuricemia (HI-per-yu-Ru-SEEM-ee-uh). A gout attack happens when uric acid forms crystals in the joints, causing inflammation and pain. As your uric acid level rises, so does the chance for gout and gout attacks. Over time, these attacks, or flares, can become more severe, last longer, and happen more often.

While most people associate gout with painful attacks, there's another side to the gout story. Gout can progress silently, even between flares, causing long-term damage to your joints.

Acute vs. Chronic Gout

"Acute gout" refers to a painful gout attack.
"Chronic gout" refers to chronic inflammation and pain which can affect more than one joint.

Acute and Chronic Gout are Treated Differently

Treatment options are available for both acute and chronic gout. Talk with your doctor about a gout treatment plan.

Who Gets Gout?

An estimated 8.3 million people in the United States—nearly 4%—have gout. Here are some facts about who is at risk for gout:

  • Men, especially between the ages of 40 and 50, are more likely to develop gout than women. In fact, gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in men.
  • Women develop gout at an older age than men, typically after menopause.
  • Many people with gout have a family history of the disease.
  • People with certain health conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and/or kidney problems.

Next: Gout Signs & Symptoms

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