BIOPHOTO ASSOCIATES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BIOPHOTO ASSOCIATES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Clinical photograph of the hand of a person suffering from chronic gout. A defect in metabolism causes an excess of uric acid in the bloodstream and the deposition of needle-like crystals of monosodium urate in the tissues. It results in attacks of acute gouty arthritis, chronic destruction of the joints, massive tophi (urate deposits) in the skin & cartilage and damage to the kidneys. Treatment is with drugs which increase the excretion of urates or with allopurinol, which slows their formation. Gout can be caused by chronic lead poisoning ("saturnine gout") and is often associated with obesity and heavy alcohol intake.
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