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Q: What is gout and how is it treated?

A: Gout is a very painful condition brought on by the precipitation of uric acid crystals within joints or the soft tissues.  It can be related to consumption of certain foods, i.e. shellfish and organ meats, as well as to dehydration, fluid loss and kidney disease, among other causes. Gout attacks leave part of the foot red, hot and swollen. It is a condition one usually notices upon waking up in the morning. Bloodwork is usually obtained to confirm this diagnosis. Certain dietary recommendations are made, and good hydration is advised. Cortisone injections often provide rapid relief of symptoms, and oral medication may also be prescribed to manage this condition.

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