Gout is a painful condition, typically found in those who suffer from arthritis. It typically causes damage around the big toe, so when people complain about gout, it is mainly in their feet. This condition occurs due to sodium urate crystals forming around the joint. They slowly grow into sharp, short needles and cause pain. Gout sufferers have this condition, which is called hyperuricemia, when uric acid builds up in the blood, however not all people with high uric acid levels suffer from gout. When hyperuricemia becomes chronic, it causes the uric crystals to form in the joint areas.
Gout can affect anyone, however it is most likely to be found in men over the age of 30. A number of risk factors make a person predisposed to having uric acid in their joints. These include diet, genetics, alcohol, a high purine-rich protein diet, joint injuries and medications.
Diet is the main cause of gout. The condition is triggered by eating high levels of uric acid, which is found mainly in alcoholic beverages, meats and seafood. It can also be caused by dehydration, provoked by certain beverages including coffee, tea, and alcohol. Medications can also trigger gout, such as diuretics to treat blood pressure or medications that compromise kidneys.
Symptom #1: Pain In The Toe
One of the first signs of gout that leads to a diagnosis is podagra, pain in the big toe. This is one of the most notable symptoms of gout, due to high levels of uric acid in the diet. The pain can linger from hours to days and can travel throughout the foot, ankles, hands, wrists or knees. This is the by-product when purines are broken down, which occurs in a diet high in mackerel, anchovies, beer or beef liver.
Typically, uric acid is excreted through the urine after travelling through the kidneys. Those who have gout produce too much uric acid and are unable to eliminate it properly, causing a build up of excess uric acid, called hyperuricemia. This happens to accumulate in the joint of the big toe, which results in soreness and an inability to walk around.