Gout is a disorder in which the body cannot rid itself of all the uric acid it produces.
This is caused either by overproduction of uric acid or by an impairment of the removal of uric acid by the kidney. Excessive uric acid build up in the joints, as well as in various soft tissues. This can cause extremely painful attacks of arthritis. A blood test reveals a high concentration of uric acid in the bloodstream and study of fluid from an affected joint shows uric acid crystals. If diagnosis is made early, future attacks may be prevented by the regular use of drugs, such as probenecid or allopurinol.
Other Disorders that Cause Arthritic Symptoms
Joints may become infected as part of a generalized disease, often accompanied by fever and a feeling of general illness. Bacterial arthritis is the invasion of joint areas by bacteria, causing swelling and inflammation. It occurs with tuberculosis and gonorrhea. In children, rheumatic fever causes painful joints that become better, then worse over a period of weeks. This is an allergic reaction to streptococcus bacteria. Virus infections, such as rubella (german measles), mumps and hepatitis may produce inflamed joints. Arthritis may also be associated with the spinal disorder enclosing spondylitis, with ulcers in the colon (colitis), or with inflammation of the urethra (reiter’s disease).