Gout is one of the most common forms of arthritis in the world as it is estimated to affect 3 million people in the United States. The cause of gout is urate crystal deposition in joints causing a severe inflammatory reaction, but why some people are affected while others are not, is still very much being discovered. While genetic predisposition is very important, with an estimated 1/10 people being at risk, gout is strongly associated with obesity; certain diets including those high in alcohol, sea food, and red meat; and other medical conditions like psoriasis and hypertension. 

Gout should not be taken lightly as a gout attack can cause excruciating pain for weeks with the risk of joint damage and even disability. Fortunately, modern medicine has advanced considerably in the treatment of gout, with a variety of medications that can treat acute and chronic gout conditions. 

If you think you may have gout or have had similar symptoms in the past, it is very important to reach out to your physician for care. Things to look out for include red and swollen joints, especially your big toe. Your physician will be able to provide further guidance and differentiate gout from other conditions such as arthritis. It is important to remember if you think you are having a flare or have an established diagnosis of gout, make sure to avoid alcohol, particularly beer, foods rich in purines such as seafood and certain meats including red meat as those can significantly worsen the condition. What once was a disabling condition is not so much anymore with proper care, but you have to take the first step and be proactive about your care.

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