Gout Center

Alpha Health Education

Topics from the

Book,  Inflammatory Arthritis

Introduction to Gout

Drug Treatment

Uric Acid




Gout is a painful inflammatory arthritis caused by uric acid crystals forming in the joints. Attacks of gout often start suddenly during sleep and feel like a joint is "on fire."

Historically, attacks of gout have been associated with drinking and high living; a penance for indulgent lifestyles. Most modern gout suffers, however are more temperate folk and have a genetic tendency to gout or are predisposed for a variety of other reasons. They do not have to be party animals, voracious eaters or  alcoholics to suffer gout, although overindulgence in the wrong food and drink will definitely aggravate the tendency.

Gout affects more than one million Canadians and Americans. Painful attacks can occur at any age, but the first attack often affects men between the ages of 40 and 50. Gout is 20 times more common in men than women; however, the number of postmenopausal women who have gout is increasing. 

A Gout attack is a severe inflammatory arthritis usually in one joint; the characteristics are

  • severe joint pain and swelling

  • red or purple skin around the joint

  • extreme tenderness -the area may be so tender that even the touch of a bed sheet may be unbearable.


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