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A familiar form of joint disorder, gout usually manifests as recurring attacks of acute Arthritis. The presence of increased uric acid in the body distinguishes gout from other forms of Arthritis. Gout usually begins with an acute attack of Pain, Inflammation, extreme tenderness and redness in the affected joint - often the big toe, knuckles and sometimes the ankle or knee. If the crystals lodge in the kidneys, they can cause partial or complete kidney damage.
After repeated attacks, the disease can cause the deposition of Sodium urate crystals in the tissues around the joints, causing stiffness and deformity. Gout can also be a symptom of a more serious underlying disorder.
The aim of treatment is to minimise the formation of uric acid crystals. A high liquid intake that increases daily urine output is usually recommended. Treatments also include a change in dietary habits, the use of diuretics and antibiotics, and a decrease in alcohol consumption.
1. Werbach M and Murray M. Botanical Influences on Illness: A Source book of Clinical Research. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1994: 27-28.