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Perhaps you've heard of gout. Maybe your Uncle Charlie mentioned having gout at some point. Gout affects many people.

Gout is a complex form of arthritis and can affect anyone. It happens when the body produces too much uric acid, which then can form crystal-like material inside the joints. This can be very painful and can even cause damage to the tissues and bone in the joints. Common joints affected are usually the great toe, but gout can affect any and all joints.

Common causes of gout are dehydration, alcohol use, and consuming certain foods high in purine

. As purine is broken down, it becomes uric acid. Too much uric acid can cause gout. It can manifest as severe joint pain, reduction in range of motion, swelling, redness, and even warmth to the joint. Treatment is generally achieved with anti-inflammatories and specific medications that help reduce the amount of uric acid in the blood.

It is very important to seek medical care immediately if you experience any symptoms of gout, as untreated gout can potentially worsen and cause damage to the affected joint. Your doctor can order a simple blood test to detect the presence of gout and explain treatment options and prevention of future occurrences.

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