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Gout is a form of arthritis in which there is excessive amount of uric acids in the body. It can be caused by either an overproduction of uric acid or by the inability of the body to remove uric acid efficiently through urination. The uric acid causes the deposition of crystals within the joint. The big toe is the joint most commonly affected in the body. Often times a gouty attack can be described as extremely painful, swollen, red, and warm joint. It often comes on acutely and a person wakes up from sleep with the pain. An attack can last several hours to several days.

Treatment for gout involves changing your diet to avoid certain food or drinks high in uric acid such as red wine, lentils, red meat, and other forms of alcohol. In between gouty attacks, a person can take medications prescribed by a physician to help the body excrete uric acid more effectively or help decrease the production of uric acid. During an attack, medications may be prescribed that help with decreasing the inflammation occurring in the joint to decrease pain. Also, a corticosteroid injection into the joint may eliminate some of the discomfort.

Overtime, the crystals within the joint can cause the development of tophi. Tophi are white deposits which can cause degeneration of the joint. Surgical replacement of the joint may be needed if this degeneration has occurred.

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