Gout is a type of arthritis, or inflammation of a joint, caused by too much uric acid in the body. It comes on suddenly as a strong, sharp pain in a joint accompanied by redness, tenderness and swelling. Most often it is felt in the big toe. Certain groups are more prone to developing gout that are men forty or older, and those who are overweight. It is uncommon to experience gout pain before the age of forty but does occur in some instances. It is common for gout flare-ups to start in one area and gradually spread to other areas over time.

Gout Symptoms

Below you will find the most common symptoms of gout.

  • Extreme joint pain
  • Hot, red, swollen joints
  • Decreased and limited mobility

The key is that the pain is often sudden and excruciating. It could be found in certain joints but especially the big toe or knee. When untreated it is possible to also get kidney stones and/or skin lumps.

Gout Causes

When there is too much uric acid in the blood, it builds up and forms crystals in the fluid around the joints. Typically, the kidney filters out the uric acid that our bodies produce in order to get rid of purine bases. Purine bases are molecular compounds that we take in through our diet. Certain foods are richer in purine bases than other and thus should be avoided by those prone to gout flare-ups. To get rid of purine bases, the by-product is uric acid. Eventually, if uric acid is overproduced our kidneys will not be able to filter the excess. This causes the sudden and extreme pain.

  • Excess of uric acid
  • Being overweight
  • Overconsumption of alcohol
  • Overconsumption of meat of fish high in purine chemicals
  • Usage of diuretics

Gout Diagnosis

A doctor may diagnose gout after running a number of tests including:

  • A blood test to determine if there is an excess of uric acid
  • X-ray imaging to look at the joints and problem areas
  • A joint fluid test
  • Ultrasound
  • Dual energy CT scan

Your medical history and a physical exam are also used to determine the likeliness of gout. It is more common in those who have a history of it in their family. It is also more common in those who are overweight or over the age of 40.

Gout Treatment

There are a wide variety of treatments that are used for the treatment of gout. Some of which include:

  • Allopurinol, is the most commonly prescribed medication
  • NSAIDs to stop swelling and inflammation
  • Lowering uric acid levels through ones diet by staying away from red meats and carbonated beverages and other healthy measures.
  • Corticosteroids
  • Painkillers for extreme pain management