Its origin, relief, and prevention. Gout is an intensely painful form of arthritis suffered mainly by middleaged men, less often by women. It stems from accumulation, then crystallization, of uric acid in the joints. Although predisposition, not indulgence, is thought to bring on gout, it is wise to shun “trigger” foods high in uric acid derivatives called purinesmainly red meats and seafood. Alcohol and physical overactivity may precipitate an attack.
Gout begins suddenly, usually as severe, throbbing pain in a big toe, although another joint-ankle, knee, wrist, thumb-may be affected. The area reddens, swells, becomes hot, shiny, and highly sensitive. Aspirin should not be taken to relieve pain; it tends to inhibit excretion of uric acid. Your doctor may prescribe medication to relieve symptoms.