Gout is a type of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the blood, which forms hard crystals in your joints.

Attacks of sudden burning pain, stiffness and swelling in a joint — typically a big toe — can happen repeatedly unless gout is treated. Gout is more common in middle-aged men, but also can affect post-menopausal women. Over time, untreated, gout can harm joints, tendons, and other tissues. Your chances of getting gout are higher if you are overweight, drink too much alcohol or eat too much meat and fish that are high in chemicals called purines. Some medicines, such as water pills (diuretics), can also bring on gout.
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Typically, the rheumatologist will drain the joint and have the fluid analyzed to confirm the diagnosis. An injection of corticosteroids at this time is usually  effective in stopping the attack. When the diagnosis is obvious, oral medications are used instead. Relief from a gout attack often begins within 24 hours if you start treatment right away.
Long-term treatment to prevent gout attacks focuses on lowering uric acid in the blood using medications such as Allopurinol and Uloric. You can help control gout by eating moderate amounts of a healthful mix of foods to control your weight and get the nutrients you need. Dietary modifications like limiting daily intake of meat, seafood and alcohol (especially beer) can also help to lower uric acid levels.