Gout is a condition affecting one or more joints in the body. At first attacks occur rarely or infrequently, usually affecting a single joint at a time. The joint most commonly affected is the big toe joint although other joints of the body may also be prime targets. If gout is diagnosed and treated early attacks may be reduced or prevented, if not diagnosed and treated attacks may increase in frequency affecting multiple joints all at the same time and leading to painful joint deformities and deposition of firm nodules, called tophi below the skin.
Gout is caused by excessive deposits of monosodium urate crystals1 near joints, a condition attributed to higher than normal levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. Uric acid in the bloodstream is derived from dietary intake of meat and seafood, persons with higher than normal levels of uric acid in their blood either produce higher than normal amounts of uric acid or their kidneys do not release enough uric into the urine. Three different medications are used to treat chronic gout depending upon how healthy a patient’s kidneys are.