What is Gout
Gout is a common type of arthritic caused by buildup of uric acid. Gout typically affects the feet, especially the big toe, but it can also affect other joints in the body such as the elbow, ankle, or fingers.
Symptoms of gout include sudden, intense pain and swelling in the joints.
Acute gout means that the pain comes suddenly, as the uric acid builds up in the joint; and symptoms last anywhere from 3-10 days.
These sudden attacks of gout are known as “flare ups”.
If left untreated, gout can become chronic. It’s quite common for people with gout to experience regular flare ups.
Some people have amounts of high uric acid, but no symptoms at all; this is called asymptomatic gout.
Gout occurs when there is too much uric acid built up in the body. The body naturally makes and removes uric acid as a byproduct from foods that you eat. However, if there is more uric acid than can be removed, it can build up and crystalize in the joints, resulting in the painful flare ups associated with gout.
Certain risk factors give you a higher chance of developing gout.
These risk factors include:
- Diets high in red meat, seafood, sugary drinks, and alcohol
- Being overweight
- Certain medical conditions like: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and kidney disease
- Certain medications like: diuretics and aspirin
- Family history
- Age (older)
- Sex (more common in men)
If left untreated, gout can lead to chronic flare ups or arthritis. Treatment for gout can include medications to relive pain, medications to reduce flare ups, and lifestyle changes. If you have gout, your treatment plan may include a combination of treatments. Speak to a doctor to determine the best treatment options for you.
When to See a Medical Doctor
Only a doctor can properly diagnose gout. If you are experiencing gout for the first time, have flare ups, or have a family history of gout, speak to a doctor to determine the best treatment and prevention options for you.