Gout is a type of arthritis that causes sudden and severe pain, redness, and swelling in the joints, typically in the big toe. It is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood, which forms into needle-like crystals that deposit in the joints. This buildup of uric acid is caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Genetics: People who have a family history of gout are more likely to develop the condition.
- Diet: Consuming large amounts of purine-rich foods, such as red meat, seafood, and alcohol, can increase the risk of gout.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and kidney disease, can increase the risk of gout.
- Medications: Taking certain medications, such as diuretics, aspirin, and cyclosporine, can increase the risk of gout.
- Age and gender: Gout is more common in men than in women, and the risk increases with age.
It is important to seek medical treatment for gout as soon as possible, as it can cause significant pain and lead to long-term joint damage if left untreated. A qualified healthcare provider, such as a rheumatologist or primary care physician, can diagnose gout and develop a treatment plan to help manage the symptoms and reduce the risk of future flares.