Gout is a medical condition in which sudden and severe pain attacks happen in the joints along with redness and tenderness. It is mostly seen in the joints at the base of the big toe. It is considered as a complex form of arthritis. This is a medical condition that can affect anyone. In general, men are more likely to suffer from it, but women also become more susceptible to the problem after menopause.
In case of an acute attack, the patient may have a sensation as if the big toe is on fire. The joints which are affected are tender, hot and swollen. In case of gout, the swelling and tenderness can be so severe that even a light object on the feet may seem intolerable. However, this problem can be treated and there are different ways to reduce the possibility of gout re-occurrence.
The signs and symptoms of this medical condition are always found to be acute. They occur suddenly and without warning and mostly happened during the night. Some of the signs and symptoms include-
Severe joint pain
The problem attacks the large joint of the big toe, but it may also attack your feet, knees, ankles, wrists and hands. Once it begins the pain is going to be severe for the first 12 to 24 hours.
When the pain subsides, joint discomfort may still last a few days or weeks. In some cases, they may last longer and affect different joints.
Inflammation and redness
The joints which are affected by gout become red, tender and swollen.
When to see a doctor
If you are suffering from sudden and intense pain in your joints, you should see your doctor. If you do not treat a gout problem, it can result in worsening of the pain and can cause joint damage. If you find a joint hot and inflamed along with fever, it means you are suffering from gout. You should immediately see a doctor.
Causes of gout
Gout happens when urate crystals start accumulating in the joint. Such accumulation causes inflammation and intense pain. Urate crystals form when uric acid is present in high levels in your blood. The human body produces uric acid by breaking down purines, which is naturally present in the human body. It is also available in different foods such as herring, organ meats, anchovies, mushrooms and asparagus.
In a normal condition, uric acid passes from the body through the kidneys into your urine after dissolving in the blood. When the body produces lots of uric acid and kidneys are not able to excrete all of them, then the problem happens. Due to a build up of uric acid, sharp needle like crystals of urate start forming in the joints and surrounding tissues resulting in swelling, pain and inflammation.
If you’re producing high levels of uric acid in the body, you are more likely to have gout. There are different factors which help in increasing the uric acid levels in the body. These factors include-
Depending on your lifestyle, the possibility of higher levels of uric acid in the body increases. Your day to day living choices will decide whether you have high amounts of uric acid on not. Too much of alcohol increases the possibility of gout.
If you are suffering from some specific diseases and conditions, it is more likely that you will have gout. Such medical conditions include hypertension or untreated high blood pressure, chronic conditions, including diabetes, cholesterol and high levels of fat and narrowing of the arteries.
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