WHAT IS GOUT?
Image from Agency for Care Effectiveness (ACE) Guidelines 2019
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis which occurs due to excessive amounts of uric acid in the body, causing uric acid crystals to form.
Uric acid crystals normally accumulate in the joints and tendons, triggering intense inflammation and resulting in swelling, redness, burning sensation, and intense pain.
It is a chronic – or long-term disease – but it can be managed with medications and lifestyle changes. Early detection of gout in its early stages can also reduce the occurrence and severity of the painful swellings that mark the disease.
People used to think that gout was caused by overeating and drinking too much alcohol. While this can make attacks of gout more likely, it’s not the whole story.
National Arthritis Foundation
Purine is a naturally occurring substance found in food and the tissues of the body.
HOW IS GOUT CAUSED?
Anyone can get gout, but certain risk factors affect the onset of gout.
When you have gout, urate crystals can build up in your joints for years without you knowing they are there. When there are a lot of crystals in your joints, some of them can spill out from the cartilage into the space between the two bones in a joint.
The tiny, hard, sharp crystals can rub against the soft lining of the joint, causing a lot of pain swelling and inflammation. When this happens, it’s known as an attack or flare of gout.
Here are some symptoms of a gout attack:
Sudden, intense joint pain (pain is most severe within the first 4-12 hours)
Can affect any joint but commonly affects the large joint of the first big toe
Redness, burning sensation, swelling and tenderness in the affected joints
Limited range of motion
Typically happens at night and can last 3-10 days
POTENTIAL NEGATIVE IMPACTS
Attacks can vary from person to person. Some people only have an attack every few years, while others have attacks every few months.
Without medication, attacks tend to happen more often and other joints can become affected.
Having high urate levels and gout for a long time can lead to other health problems, including:
HOW TO DETECT GOUT?
If you suspect you are at risk of gout or have suffered an attack, it's best to seek medical advice from your medical practitioner (GP) who can help in diagnosing the condition and recommending the best way to tackle the disease.
THINK YOU KNOW WHAT GOUT IS?