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Gout : Definition
Western Medicine Chinese Medicine
Gout is a metabolic disorder which results in an excess of uric acid in the bloodstream and the deposit of its salts (urates) in the joints, soft tissues and urinary tract. These produce acutely painful attacks of arthritis and soft-tissue inflammation. If untreated, long-term destruction of the joints, formation of tophi in the skin and cartilage, and kidney disease follow. The disorder is more common in men than women and rarely occurs in boys before puberty or women before the menopause.

Uric acid crystals deposited in the joints cause inflammation

Uric acid levels in serum (the clear fluid that separates from blood on clotting) are invariably raised (hyperuremia), although not all those who are hyperuremic will experience attacks of gout. Serum uric acid concentrations are influenced by a number of factors of which age, sex, body-weight and genetic constitution are the most important. Higher levels are found in urban rather than rural communities and are associated with social class, obesity, alcohol consumption and a high protein diet.


Gout is a metabolic disorder which results in raised blood levels of uric acid and the formation of crystals of uric acid salts in the joints. Uric acid is a natural element which results from the normal break down of food and the building up of body tissues. The clinical presentation of gout includes frequent attacks of arthritis, joint deformities, kidney damage and urinary stones.

From a TCM viewpoint, the clinical features of gout, such as frequent attacks of swelling, redness, heat and pain in the joints, and improper movement of limbs, place gout in the category of "bi-syndrome." The ancient TCM classic Suwen (The Book of Plain Questions) states that "bi-syndrome is due to a combined attack of wind, cold and dampness evils." Attacks on the meridians in the superficial areas of the body such as the feet and hands by wind, cold and dampness evils lead to stagnation of vital energy (qi) and blood circulation. It is an obstructive disorder.

Traditional Chinese medicine holds that there is a distribution network for the fundamental substances like qi, blood and body fluid throughout the body. This network is called the Meridian System. It links organs, limbs, joints, bones, tendons, tissues and skin, and provides communication between the body's interior and exterior.

Meridian system of the body