Terms to Know

Acute Pain
Pain that comes on quickly and is often severe.

A condition marked by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood.

The body’s basic reaction to infection, irritation or other injury. The main symptoms are redness, warmth, swelling and pain.

Gout that occurs at the base of the big toe.

A condition that is often confused with gout. It is caused by calcium pyrophosphate crystals, not uric acid crystals.

A part of all human tissue and found in many foods, especially those high in protein. Foods high in purines include meats, beans, liver, mushrooms and shellfish.

A physician who specializes in joint and musculoskeletal diseases and conditions, including gout. A primary care physician may refer patients with gout to a rheumatologist.

Synovial Fluid Analysis
A test in which joint (synovial) fluid is removed from the affected joint with a needle and examined under a microscope to identify the presence of urate crystals. It is the method for definitively diagnosing gout.

Nodular masses of uric crystals that sometimes form in the soft tissue of people with long-term, chronic gout. Tophi can occur in virtually any part of the body, including outer lobes of the ears, as well as the fingers, elbows and big toe.

Urate Crystals
Needle-like deposits that form in the joints or soft tissue in some people when the body can’t excrete enough uric acid from the blood.

Uric Acid
A substance in the blood that results from the breakdown of purines, which are part of all human tissue, and are found in many foods.

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