Gout, the most common inflammatory arthritis in the U.S., is a very painful form of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid. Uric acid crystals become deposited on the cartilage of joints, tendons and other surrounding tissue, especially the feet.
Gout rates are climbing not only because it is being diagnosed earlier but also because people are living longer and because diuretic therapies are typically prescribed for high blood pressure in postmenopausal women.
There are good medications that can potentially prevent gout attacks. Even so, attacks are common.
Researchers have tied gout attacks to consuming alcohol, red meat, and certain seafoods. Now they are also beginning to link them to sweetened beverages and caffeine.