DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Gout. Swollen index finger of a 70-year-old man suffering from gout. This metabolic disorder results in painful joint inflammation, or arthritis. Often only a single joint is affected during the first attack, which typically lasts a few days, although other joints may become inflamed during later attacks. The inflammation is due to the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints. Avoiding foods such as offal, poultry and pulses can help to lower the high blood levels of uric acid. Most attacks are controlled with anti- inflammatory drugs. However, recurring attacks are treated with drugs to limit uric acid formation or increase its rate of excretion.
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