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HealthInfo Canterbury

About gout

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Gout is a common form of arthritis that causes your joints to swell painfully. It's caused by a chemical in your blood called uric acid.

If there's too much uric acid in your blood, it turns into tiny, sharp, glass-like crystals. The crystals collect in your joints and irritate the tissues causing inflammation, swelling, and pain – a gout attack.

Gout can damage your joints and your kidneys if it's not treated.

To learn more about gout, and how it's treated and prevented, see the Ministry of Health booklet Stop gout.

Do I have gout?

Gout causes severe pain, swelling and redness in one or more of your joints. It can come on suddenly and often starts at night. Gout often affects your big toe, but it can also affect your knee, foot, wrist, ankle, hand and elbow joints.

If you have any of the symptoms of gout, or you're worried that you might be at risk of getting gout, make an appointment with your GP.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by rheumatologist, Department of Rheumatology, Immunology & Allergy, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed December 2017.

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