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Diseases such as cancer, diabetes and depression may be illnesses dealt with often today, but according to medicinenet.com, gout is one of the most common and documented medical conditions in history.
Gout occurs when uric acid, a substance created when purines break down, accumulates in the body. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) states that the uric acid collects when the body produces a high amount of the acid, kidneys do not dispose of the acid, and individuals eat a great amount of foods containing purines. Purines exist in body tissue and are most often digested through foods including red-organ meats such as kidney and liver, seafood, including anchovies and sardines, foods rich in high-fructose syrup, liver, mushrooms, and legumes, such as dried beans and peas.
When too much uric acid exists in the body, urate crystals form and pile up in the joints. The mass of crystals can then lead to excessive pain, swelling, heat, redness and inflammation within the joints, also known as arthritis. Gout attacks most often occur in the base joint of the big toe, but pain is also common in the ankles, knees, wrists, elbows, fingers and heels.
According to the NIAMS website, most people are first affected by gout when they experience pain in their big toe that is so severe it often wakes them from their sleep. Gout experts state that the first series of gout attacks subside within three to ten days, and the following episodes may not occur for months or years.
Symptoms of Gout