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Hereditary metabolic disorder in which excess uric-acid salts, normally excreted in urine, are deposited as needle-sharp crystals in joints, causing attacks of severe inflammation. The most common site is the base of the big toe. One of the oldest diseases in medical literature, gout is far more common in men. Attacks usually do not begin until middle age. They cause heat, redness, and extreme tenderness and pain and often subside in a week or two. Colchicine is used to treat acute attacks. Drugs such as allopurinol inhibit uric-acid synthesis.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on gout, visit Britannica.com.