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- This database contains purine content of 350 foods.
- Purine values are in milligrams (mg) and calculated per 100g of food weight.
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What Is Gout?
Gout is a common, painful form of arthritis. It causes swollen, red, hot and stiff
joints. Gout occurs when uric acid builds up in your blood. This happens if your
body produces extra acid or does not eliminate enough, or if you eat too many foods
with purines, such as liver and dried beans. Pseudogout has similar symptoms and
is sometimes confused with gout. However, it is caused by calcium phosphate, not
In many people, gout initially affects the joints of the big toe (a condition called
podagra). But many other joints and areas around the joints can be affected in addition
to or instead of the big toe. These include the insteps, ankles, heels, knees, wrists,
fingers, and elbows. Chalky deposits of uric acid, also known as tophi, can appear
as lumps under the skin that surrounds the joints and covers the rim of the ear.
Uric acid crystals can also collect in the kidneys and cause kidney stones.
At first, gout attacks usually get better in days. Eventually, attacks last longer
and occur more often. Uric acid buildup can lead to kidney stones. Untreated gout
can cause permanent joint and kidney damage.
What Causes Gout
Gout is caused by the buildup of too much uric acid in the body. Uric acid comes
from the breakdown of substances called purines. Purines are found in all of your
body's tissues. They are also in many foods, such as liver, dried beans and peas,
Normally, uric acid dissolves in the blood. It passes through the kidneys and out
of the body in urine. But uric acid can build up in the blood when:
- The body increases the amount of uric acid it makes.
- The kidneys do not get rid of enough uric acid.
- A person eats too many foods high in purines.
When uric acid levels in the blood are high, it is called hyperuricemia. Most people
with hyperuricemia do not develop gout. But if excess uric acid crystals form in
the body, gout can develop.
You are more likely to have gout if you:
- Have family members with the disease
- Are a man
- Are overweight
- Drink too much alcohol
- Eat too many foods rich in purines
- Have an enzyme defect that makes it hard for the body to break down purines
- Are exposed to lead in the environment
- Have had an organ transplant
- Use some medicines such as diuretics, aspirin, cyclosporine, or levodopa
- Take the vitamin niacin.
How Is Gout Diagnosed?
Signs and symptoms of gout include:
- Hyperuricemia (high level of uric acid in the blood)
- Uric acid crystals in joint fluid
- More than one attack of acute arthritis
- Arthritis that develops in 1 day, producing a swollen, red, and warm joint
- Attack of arthritis in only one joint, usually the toe, ankle, or knee.
To confirm a diagnosis of gout, your doctor may draw a sample of fluid from an inflamed
joint to look for crystals associated with gout.
Some diet and lifestyle changes may help prevent gout attacks:
- Avoid alcohol
- Reduce how many purine-rich foods you eat, especially anchovies, sardines, oils,
herring, organ meat (liver, kidney, and sweetbreads), legumes (dried beans and peas),
gravies, mushrooms, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, consommé, and baking or brewer's
- Limit how much meat you eat at each meal.
- Avoid fatty foods such as salad dressings, ice cream, and fried foods.
- Eat enough carbohydrates.
- If you are losing weight, lose it slowly. Quick weight loss may cause uric acid
kidney stones to form.
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