Gout is a form of arthritis and is caused by high levels of uric acid that results in crystals forming within and around a joint. When your body produces high levels of uric acid or if your kidneys cannot filter it out, it can result in a build up. When this occurs, it can lead to an attack that can cause high levels of pain and swelling. Gout is not all that common with only around 1-2% of people in the UK being affected by it.
It is common in men over 30 and women who have been through the menopause. However, in general, it is more common in men than women.
Those who suffer will find that it is very debilitating. The pain can be excruciating at times although there is treatment available. The aim of the treatment is to relieve the symptoms and prevent any further attack from occurring.
Signs and Symptoms of Gout
Gout can affect any joint in the body. Despite this, it often occurs in joints at the end of limbs. This can include the toes, ankles, knees and fingers.
The pain can be severe in a number of joints and they can feel hot and tender. The joint can often be swollen, red and shiny. The symptoms can occur quickly and in just a few hours, the joints can become painful. Once the symptoms develop they can last for anything from three to ten days. After this time, the pain should disappear and the joint will return to its normal state. For those who experience gout, most will suffer from gout attacks in the future. Often, these attacks can occur within a year.
If you suffer from gout, there is treatment available. The aim of the treatment is to relieve the symptoms and prevent further attacks. To achieve this, ice packs can be used as well as taking medication such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), Colchicine or corticosteroids.
Further attacks can be prevented by making lifestyle changes. This can be through weight loss and a change in diet. Taking medication can reduce the uric acid levels and this can be done by taking medication such as allopurinol.
Through the right treatment and care, reducing the levels of uric acid can help to dissolve the crystals that cause gout. This can often mean that no further attacks will occur. Despite this, there is often a need for lifelong treatment.
Seeking specialist help
If you are suffering from gout then you will need to seek specialist advice. This will ensure that you receive the right treatment and care, all of which will help to deal with the symptoms and prevent further gout attacks.