Join for Just $16 A Year
- Discounts on travel and everyday savings
- Subscription to AARP The Magazine
- Free membership for your spouse or partner
Gout is a type of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the blood. When the concentration of uric acid gets too high, sharp urate crystals form. These crystals collect in the joints and cause swelling and intense pain. Gout attacks often come on suddenly and without warning and typically last 12 to 24 hours. The big toe is the most common joint affected, but gout attacks can also affect the ankles, knees, hands, and wrists. If left untreated, gout attacks occur with more frequency and can eventually cause permanent deformations and damage to joints.
More than eight million Americans suffer from gout, and incidence of the disease has increased by about half in the past 20 years. It is most common among men over 40, though it is also prevalent in women after menopause. Because gout is associated with the excessive consumption of rich foods, it was previously known as "the disease of kings."
Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Published on Jan 01, 2011
Updated on Jan 12, 2013
Medically reviewed by Jennifer Monti, MD, MPH
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
Find information on drug interactions, side effects, and more. Go.
From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.
Members get a free Rx card from AARP® Prescription Discounts provided by Catamaran.
Members get 10 free health tests from Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour with AARP®.
Members learn the ABCs of buying health insurance with Aetna’s 15-Minute Health Insurance Guide.
Caregiving can be a lonely journey, but AARP offers resources that can help.