Pain and Inflammation Caused by Uric Acid

Gout is a form of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the body that can result in severe pain, swelling and stiffness in joints. The symptoms are caused by deposits of uric acid crystals at the joints. The most common joint affected by gout is the big toe.

Gout is caused because your body creates too much uric acid or can’t get rid of it. The exact cause is unknown, but it may run in families. Risk factors for gout, include:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Diabetes
  • Diet rich in red meat and seafood
  • Family history
  • Female after menopause
  • High blood pressure
  • Male
  • Obesity
  • Trauma or recent surgery
  • Reduced kidney function
  • Use of diuretics

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

Gout is usually characterized by a sudden attack of pain and inflammation with repeated episodes over time.

Symptoms include:

  • Intense joint pain
  • Limited mobility in affected joint
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Warmth around joint

If left untreated, it can lead to joint damage. To confirm if you have gout, the experts at Penn State Health will run a blood test, ultrasound or imaging studies. Fluid may be obtained from the joint for diagnostic testing. Gout is treated using medications, injections and managing the risk factors.

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Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

Coordinated, Specialized Care

Our rheumatologists work with your primary care physician and other specialists at Penn State Health to manage your gout and the underlying health conditions that contribute to the disease. Our physicians care for thousands of patients each year with arthritis and soft-tissue inflammatory conditions.

Leading-Edge Clinical Trials for Rheumatologic Disorders

The rheumatology experts at Penn State Health are committed to offering our patients the latest treatment options, including access to leading-edge clinical trials, in partnership with Penn State College of Medicine. Our clinical research team includes dedicated research nurses, clinical trial coordinators and data analysts and gives patients the opportunity to participate in the latest clinical trials testing new medication and therapies for gout. Learn more about new Penn State Health clinical trials at StudyFinder.

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