What Is Gout?

By albert
Reviewed: Dr. Mera
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Gout, also referred to as gouty arthritis, is a common form of arthritis that can affect adults, specially males. Patients with gout can experience recurrent, sudden and severe episodes of swelling, redness and pain in the joints. The main risk factor for developing gout is high uric acid levels in the blood (hyperuricemia). This disease is the result of the formation of uric acid crystals within the joint space and their deposition in soft tissue. If untreated, chronic gout can lead to joint destruction and renal damage.

Gout occurs in several stages: an asymptomatic stage, also called asymptomatic hyperuricemia, and acute gout. During the asymptomatic stage, there are no symptoms except for high uric acid levels in the blood. Acute gout attacks are usually triggered by acute changes or spikes in the levels of uric acid. This inflammation usually happens at night and intensifies over a period of 8 to 12 hours. The severity and duration of symptoms may vary, but on average these ease after a few days and disappear in 7 to 10 days. Gout symptoms may come and go, but there are ways to manage symptoms and prevent flares.

1. Symptoms of Gout

Although pain can occur in any joint, the big toe is the most affected. Also called podagra (not an exclusive term for gout), it’s the initial joint manifestation in 50 percent of cases, and eventually involved in 90 percent. Gout can also cause pain, swelling, warmth, redness, and tenderness in the inner arch of the foot, ankle, wrist, finger joints, and knee. This pain is most intense within eight to twelve hours of its commencement.

The disease most commonly involves one joint at a time (monoarticular), but polyarticular involvement (simultaneously or in succession) can also be seen. Even without treatment, the first attacks resolve in less than 2 weeks. It is common for the episodes to be intermittent and the joints to return to normal between attacks. Subsequent attacks are likely to last longer and affect more joints.


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