DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Gout. Swollen thumb of an 87-year-old man caused by gout. This metabolic disorder results in painful joint inflammation and is a type of arthritis. Attacks typically lasts a few days. The inflammation is due to the formation and accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints. This case was probably precipitated by the patient taking the drug frusemide for congestive heart failure. Treatment is with anti- inflammatory drugs, or with drugs that limit uric acid formation and increase its excretion for recurrent cases. Blood levels of uric acid can be reduced by avoiding certain foods and drinks, including offal, seafood, alcohol and caffeine.
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