Take a quick quiz to learn about the myths and facts about gout

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Question 1 Gout pain is not so bad.

Gout pain can be extremely severe, and some people have gout pain all the time. The pain is caused by tiny, sharp crystals building up under the skin. Gout is one of the most painful types of arthritis.

Question 2 There is a strong connection between gout and kidney disease.

There is evidence that gout can lead to kidney disease. The belief that gout leads to kidney disease is common among many doctors who specialize in the disease. When you have gout, you have too much uric acid in your blood. As your blood is filtered through your kidneys, uric acid can build up and form urate crystals. As the urate crystals pass through your kidneys, they can cause damage and scars. This kidney damage is thought to lead to kidney disease and failure over time, especially if your gout is left untreated.

Question 3 Gout attacks only happen in the big toe.

The big toe is the most common place for gout attacks to happen, and many people have their first gout attack in their big toe. But gout can happen in all joints in the body including the hands, elbows, knees, and ankles. When people have chronic gout, often several of their joints are affected.

Question 4 Chronic gout means having two or more attacks a year, and there are medicines for it.

Chronic gout does not necessarily mean having gout attacks all the time. Chronic gout is considered having two or more gout attacks per year. Having chronic gout can lead to permanent joint stiffness, damage, and deformity, and attacks can increase in frequency over time. There are medicines used for chronic gout that can prevent gout attacks.

Question 5 Gout only happens in people that drink too much alcohol or eat too much unhealthy food.

Although drinking alcohol or eating a diet high in purines can contribute to gout, most people do not get gout for these reasons alone. Instead, when someone has gout, their body does not use uric acid in the right way. Kidney disease is a common cause of gout that is not related to drinking too much alcohol or eating unhealthy foods.

Question 6 Some people feel symptoms of gout most of the time.

Living with pain and gout symptoms can be almost constant for some people with chronic gout. Attacks happen in more joints with only short breaks in between attacks. Some people feel symptoms of gout most of the time.

Question 7 Gout only causes damage during attacks.

Gout causes damage in the body even in between attacks. A gout attack is pain from urate crystals building up under the skin, but gout can cause high levels of uric acid in the body all the time. This can lead to more gout attacks, joint damage, and joint deformity when left untreated.

Question 8 There are medicines to prevent future gout attacks.

There are medicines that can prevent the buildup of uric acid in the blood, which can lead to fewer gout attacks in people who have chronic gout. There are also lifestyle changes people can make that can prevent future attacks.

Question 9 Gout only happens in men.

Anyone can get gout, including women. It is more common in men, but once women reach menopause, the rate of gout in men and women evens out. Most women who develop gout show signs and symptoms after menopause.