What's the difference between gout and rheumatoid or other arthritis?

Arthritis. Gout is caused by an overproduction of uric acid which is a breakdown product of certain proteins. If the level of uric acid in the blood is too high, gout crystals which under a microscope look like needles will deposit in certain joints like the big toe, elbow or knee and cause severe inflammation and pain. Rheumatoid arthritis/autoimmune condition/the body makes antibodies to the joint lining.
Big differences. Regular arthritis, osteoarthritis, is a mechanical problem involving the wearing away of the cartilage in a joint. It is not a systemic problem. Rheumatoid is an autoimmune disease which is systemic. It tends to affect many joints. Gout involves the formation of a crystal in the joint which causes inflammation. Since each disease has a unique cause, each disease has unique treatments.

Related Questions

How do gout and rheumatoid arthritis differ?

Very dfferent. Gout is an arthritis caused by urate crystals and usually involves the base of the big toe. Other joints can also be involved. Ra is an autoimmune disease usually characterized by generalized inflammation of large and small joints at the same time. There are numerous other differences. Read more...
See below. Gout is the result of high uric acid circulating in blood that deposits in a joint causing acute pain. This can be caused from a over production or an under excretion. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory auto-immune disease that affects multiple joints. A physician will examine you and test for these conditions if necessary. Read more...

How can I be sure that I have rheumatoid arthritis or gout?

Can overlap. With symptoms, but lab and physical, exam are differentiating commonly. Read more...
See a Rheumatogist. Both are very clinical diagnoses (a doctor looking at you and your whole story) and labs don't tell the whole story. Only a rheumatologist will be able to tell you for sure. Read more...

How to tell if bony growth on big toe base is a bunion, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis or gout/tophi? Only on right foot.

X-ray will help. As will your clinical history and exam. Goit is a diagnosis made largely by a blood test though gouty drpisits that are not invled or tophi do occur they often are very obvious and shoe up with x-ray too. Bone spurs from trauma can be commun in the big toe and many sports related issues can lead to mild DJD in the big toe. Ra is a DX that can be present though less likely to appear in only bone. Read more...
See a rheumatologist. A rheumatologist is an expert in musculoskeletal medicine who can distinguish between the diagnoses you mention by asking questions, examining the toe, and doing tests if needed (x-ray, bloodwork, ultrasound etc). Bunions are slow growing and hard. Oa is more common >age50 and chronically stiff. Tophi usually softer, +/- yellow and go with sudden flares (red, swollen, painful), and RA symmetric. Read more...
See a podiatrist. Go see a podiatrist. Gout would flare up and you have intense pain. Arthritis is due to joint space narrowing which is very possible. Ra 36 yo male not likely and it is on both side, bunion is a possibility. Usually if the bony growth on the side of the big toe joint its a bunion. Top of the big toe joint is arthritis. Podiatrist can tell you exactly what you got and how to take care of it. Read more...