Gout is a commonly occurring type of arthritis.  It is characterized by the sudden onset of severe pain, redness and swelling of a joint, frequently the big toe.  It often awakens people from sleep due to the pain, and many state that even the light weight of a sheet on their toe causes discomfort.  The episodes of gout occur intermittently and may last for several days.

High uric acid levels in the blood and tissues causes gout.  The crystals of uric acid are deposited in the joints which causes pain and/or the kidneys causing kidney stones.  These crystals can permanently be deposited in joints after multiple attacks and cause damage and pain to the joint.

There are three primary causes of high uric acid levels:

  • Some people produce too much uric acid for unknown reasons. Gout occurs more often in men and women who have gone through menopause.
  • Others do not get rid of enough uric acid due to kidney disease, certain medications, sudden weight gain, or alcohol use.
  • Diet high in purines. Purines are broken down by the body into uric acid.  High purine foods include nuts, red meat, organ meats, seafood, beer, and alcohol. 

Treatment for acute attacks includes medications such as Naproxen, prednisone, or colchicine.


  • low purine diet
  • stay hydrated with plenty of water
  • limit alcohol
  • stay at a healthy weight
  • if gout attacks are continuing to occur with the above measures, a prescription medication called allopurinol can help lower the uric acid levels.

If you have any questions about gout, please call or visit any of our GCH Clinics.

Cindy Peterson, ARNP