Gout occurs when urate crystals accumulate in your joint, causing the inflammation and intense pain of a gout attack. Urate crystals can form when you have high levels of uric acid in your blood.
Your body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines — substances that are found naturally in your body, as well as in certain foods, such as steak, organ meats and seafood. Other foods also promote higher levels of uric acid, such as alcoholic beverages, especially beer, and drinks sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose).
Normally, uric acid dissolves in your blood and passes through your kidneys into your urine. But sometimes your body either produces too much uric acid or your kidneys excrete too little uric acid. When this happens, uric acid can build up, forming sharp, needle-like urate crystals in a joint or surrounding tissue that cause pain, inflammation and swelling.
Nov. 10, 2015
- Hochberg MC, et al. Rheumatology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 20, 2014.
- Pluta RM, et al. Gout. The Journal of the American Medical Association. 2010;304:2314.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2015: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 20, 2014.
- Gout. American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/Practice/Clinical/Patients/Diseases_And_Conditions/Gout/ . Accessed Oct. 20, 2014.
- Questions and answers about gout. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Gout/default.asp. Accessed Oct. 20, 2014.
- Moi JY, et al. Lifestyle interventions for acute gout. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD010519.pub2/abstract. Accessed Oct. 20, 2014.
- Van Derme CG, et al. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for acute gout. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD010120.pub2/abstract. Accessed Oct. 20, 2014.
- Becker MA. Treatment of acute gout. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 20, 2014.
- Becker MA. Prevention of recurrent gout. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 20, 2014.
- Gout. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Oct. 22, 2014.
- Kolasinski SL. Food, drink and herbs: Alternative therapies and gout. Current Rheumatology Reports. 2014;16:409.
- Khanna D, et al. 2012 American College of Rheumatology guidelines for management of gout. Part 1: Systematic nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic therapeutic approaches to hyperuricemia. Arthritis Care and Research. 2012;64:1431.
- AskMayoExpert. Gout. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- Chang-Miller April (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 29, 2014.