Gout is a type of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of joint pain with tenderness, redness, warmth, and swelling in the affected area. It usually attacks only one joint at a time. It most often strikes the joint of the big toe, in which case it is also known as podagra, but other joints can also be involved.
Gout is typically a condition that occurs in middle age, and is unusual in people under the age of 30. It is twice as common in men as in premenopausal women. Women develop gout as often as men after menopause (estrogens, which are at higher levels before menopause, appear to play a protective role).
Certain medications and diseases can bring on gout in anyone of any age or gender. A first gout attack most commonly occurs in the mid-40s. It is found globally and has been described as far back as the time of Hippocrates, 2,500 years ago. It affects about 3% of the population.