Imagine needle-sharp shards of glass inserted between the bones of your joints, grating and grinding with every move. That not-so-happy image is the pain of gout, one of the more common forms of arthritis. It’s caused by the build-up of a compound called uric acid. In certain people with a genetic susceptibility for the disease, the body converts excess uric acid into crystals which can accumulate in joints. In most cases, the extreme pain of gout starts in the big toe, but it also settle into other joints of the feet, ankles, knees, fingers, wrists, and elbows.
Most cases of gout are controllable. Treatment involves medication, and avoiding anything that raises levels of uric acid. Because uric acid is a byproduct of the metabolism of purine, a substance naturally found in body tissues, you'll never get rid of it entirely. However, if you have gout, or have been told you're at high risk, there are several dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to keep uric acid levels as low as possible:
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