Gout is the most common form of arthritis in men over age 40, and it is increasingly found in women after menopause. Gout is caused by excess uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is the natural result of the body breaking down molecules, those purines which are found in things we eat, and can be higher in certain foods and beverages. Unfortunately, such traditional holiday fare as red meat, shellfish, pâté, sugary drinks and alcohol can trigger a gout attack. (Not to mention, of course, the dreaded stalks of asparagus.)
The symptoms of a gout attack include redness and swelling in the joints, and can occur in any joint of the body. Eight million Americans including actor and performer Jim Belushi have gout and, in recent years, the incidence of gout has increased drastically. Indeed, while Belushi was making millions of people laugh on his hit show, According to Jim, he was dealing with this chronic disease, which is certainly no laughing matter. Click here to read more about how Jim Belushi deals with his gout diagnosis.