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Conditions InDepth: Gout
Types of Gout
- Elevated levels of uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia), but no other symptoms.
- Present before the first gout attack.
- Chronically increased uric acid levels result in the deposit of uric acid crystals in the joint spaces.
- Symptoms develop quickly, usually overnight and after some stimulus or trigger.
- Will usually resolve within 3 to 14 days, even without treatment.
- A symptom-free time between attacks.
- Crystals usually present in the joint.
- Low-level inflammation may damage the joints.
- Occurs in people with gout and uric acid levels that remain high for a long time.
- Attacks become more frequent and the pain may not resolve completely between episodes.
- Joints may become damaged and be persistently stiff and swollen.
- Crystal may build up in the skin (tophi) or around the joints as subcutaneous nodules.
- The kidneys may be damaged.
Causes of Gout
Increased production of uric acid from:
- Excess consumption of foods high in purines like steak, seafood, and organ meats
- Certain medications, such as cytotoxic agent (chemotherapy) or vitamin B12
Decreased excretion of uric acid from:
- Impaired ability to clear the uric acid in the kidneys, which may occur with kidney damage or disease
- Consumption of foods such as alcohol or sugary drinks
- Certain medications, such as diuretics, salicylate containing medications (like aspirin), niacin, or levodopa
- Medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, obesity, hypothyroidism, Kelley-Seegmiller syndrome or Lesch-Nyhan syndrome
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
- Review Date: 02/2017
- Update Date: 02/24/2017