12/1/2020 Sophia Hogg
Gout is a common and complicated form of arthritis which could affect anyone. It is characterized by unexpected, serious attacks of pain, inflammation, redness and tenderness in the joints, usually the joint at the bottom of the big toe.
An attack of gout could happen unexpectedly, usually waking you up in the middle of the night with the feeling that your big toe is on fire. The damaged joint is hot, inflamed and so tender that even the weight of the sheet on it might seem intolerable.
Gout symptoms might come and go, but there are ways to manage symptoms and stop flares.Request a callback
The symptoms of gout almost always happen unexpectedly, and usually at night. They include:
Intense joint pain - Gout generally affects the large joint of your big toe, but it could happen in any joint. Other commonly affected joints involve the ankles, knees, elbows, wrists and fingers. The pain is likely to be most serious within the first 4 to 12 hours after it starts.
Lingering discomfort - After the most serious pain subsides, some joint discomfort might last from a few days to a few weeks. Later attacks are likely to last longer and damage more joints.
Inflammation and redness – The damaged joint or joints become inflamed, tender, warm and red.
Restricted range of motion - As gout progresses, you might not be able to move your joints normally.
Gout happens when urate crystals amass in your joint, causing the swelling and intense pain of a gout attack. Urate crystals could form when you have high levels of uric acid in your blood.
Your body produces uric acid when it breaks down purine substances which are found naturally or normally in your body.
Purines are also found in specific foods, like steak, organ meats and seafood. Other foods also promote higher levels of uric acid, like alcoholic beverages, particularly beer, and drinks sweetened with fruit sugar or fructose.
Generally, uric acid dissolves in your blood and passes through your kidneys into your urine. But at times either your body produces too much uric acid or your kidneys excrete too little uric acid. When this occurs, uric acid could build up, forming sharp, needle-like urate crystals in a joint or surrounding tissue which cause pain, redness and swelling.
Tests to help diagnose gout might include:
Treatment for gout generally involves medications. What medications you and your primary care physician choose will be based on your current health and your own preferences.
Gout medications could be used to treat acute attacks and stop future attacks. Medications could also lower your risk of problems from gout, like the development of tophi from urate crystal deposits.
Medications to treat gout attacks
Medications used to treat acute attacks and stop future attacks include:
Medications to stop gout complications
If you experience many gout attacks each year, or if your gout attacks are less frequent but especially painful, your primary care physician might suggest medication to lower your risk of gout-related complications. If you already have proof of gout damage on joint X-rays, or you have tophi, chronic kidney disease or kidney stones, medications to lower your body's level of uric acid could be suggested. Alternatives include: