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Gout: Overview and Risk Factors

Gout is a painful disease of the joints that can occur in individuals who have high levels of uric acid in their blood. Uric acid can irritate and damage the joints, as well as the kidneys, urinary tract, and other areas of the body.

The majority of cases occur when the kidneys are not able to remove excess uric acid from the body, most commonly in patients with chronic kidney disease. The remaining cases occur when too much uric acid is produced in the body, as may occur in cases of psoriasis, leukemia, and other disorders.

Symptoms include joint pain and swelling, most commonly in the big toe, knee, ankle, or wrist. Another common occurrence is kidney stones, which may result in severe abdominal pain, painful urination, and bloody urine.

Risk Factors

  • Age: Risk increases with age.
  • Gender: Gout is more common in males, possibly because estrogen in women promotes the passage of uric acid in the urine.
  • Family history
  • Dietary factors: See Nutritional Considerations.
  • Obesity
  • Medications, including diuretics, cyclosporine, aspirin, and niacin
  • Stress, trauma, or surgery may increase the risks of flare-ups.
Gout: Diagnosis and Treatment >>