Gout is a complex form of arthritis, which causes sudden burning pain, swelling, and stiffness of joints. The pain, tenderness and redness mostly affects the big toe. This condition can affect anyone though men are more likely to suffer. Women are more vulnerable to gout after menopause. The sudden attacks can wake you up at night and they are characterized by a sensation of fire in your big toe. When the attacks come, even the weight of your sheet could be intolerable. The good thing about gout is that it is treatable and people can reduce risks of suffering.


Elevated levels of uric acid in blood are the major cause of gout. Although having too much of uric acid may not be a cause for alarm, however uric acids can form hard crystals in joints. Many people who have elevated levels of uric acids in blood do not suffer gout. Gout will occur as a result of accumulation of urate crystals in joints.

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High levels of uric acid in blood can lead to formation of urate crystals. Usually, the body produces uric acid in the process of breaking down purines. Purines are substances, which occur naturally in body and may also be derived from foods like herrings, asparagus, anchovies, mushrooms, and organ meat. The body naturally dissolves uric acid in blood and excretes it through kidneys to urine.

However, there may be too much levels of uric acid in blood or your kidney fails to excrete the uric acid, something that leads to build up of the substance in body. People who are overweight and take too much alcohol are more likely to suffer from gout. Similarly, people who eat a lot of meat and fish, which have purines, are more susceptible to suffer gout. Medication such as diuretics can also lead to gout.

Symptoms of gout

The symptoms of gout are acute and occur abruptly and mostly at night. A patient with gout experiences intense joint pain. The large joint of the big toe is much affected but the pain can also occur on knees, wrists, hands, ankles and feet. Another sign is lingering discomfort.

After a severe pain that could last between 12 to 24 hours, it subsides and joint discomfort may remain for a few days or weeks. Subsequent attacks may last for longer and could affect more joints. Inflammation and tenderness is experienced in joints. The joints become swollen and tender thus leading to more pain.

Doctors will ask question about your condition and a physical examination may be carried out. Samples of fluid from the joints may be taken to diagnose the presence of uric acids crystals. Blood samples may also be taken to test the presence of elevated uric acid levels in blood.

Who are at risk of suffering gout arthritis?

Although gout can affect anyone, there are people who are more likely to suffer this condition than others. The levels of uric acid in body can be increased by excess consumption of alcohol. Taking more than two drinks a day can increase the risk of suffering gout arthritis.

Medical conditions like high blood pressure could also make one susceptible to gout. If high blood pressure is left untreated, it can lead to increased levels of uric acid in your body.  Other disease conditions such as diabetes and hyperlipidemia or high levels of fat and cholesterols may also increase the risk of suffering gout.

People using medications like diuretics could develop gout. Diuretics may be administered to treat hypertension. Moreover, family history of gout is another contributory factor. Age and sex are also associated with increased likelihood of suffering gout, with men more likely to suffer than women and this is because women tend to have low levels of uric acid.

Treatment of gout arthritis

Treatment for gout involves various medications to treat acute attacks and prevent a patient from suffering future attacks. In addition, the medications are aimed at reducing risks of complications that may result from gout such as development of tophic that occurs as a result of urate crystal deposits. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs may be used to control inflammation and pain.

A higher dose of NSAIDs may be prescribed by your doctor to stop acute attacks and thereafter, lower daily dozes are administered. Corticosteroids may also be used to control gout inflammation and pain. It is important to discuss the treatment option to apply because some of these medications have side effects. Your doctor will recommend the most appropriate medication depending on your health status.

People can minimize the risks of suffering gout by keeping their fluid intake high and especially water. Limiting alcohol consumption is also helpful in minimizing incidents of gout. Diet is another important aspect as taking a healthy diet with emphasis on vegetables, fruits and wholegrain as well as fat-free milk products can go a long way in minimizing gout. The intake of meat, poultry, and fish may also reduce the possibility of suffering from gout.

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