Gout is a common form of arthritis that can occur in anyone. It can result in pain, redness, swelling, etc. in your joints. It commonly affects the joints located at the base of the big toe. Gout can result in a wide variety of symptoms and may affect your daily routines. Hence, it is important for you to effectively control this disease and its symptoms for leading a quality life. Therefore, we provide some important information about gout and its symptoms for your knowledge.
What Is Gout?
Gout is a general term used to denote a variety of conditions resulted from the uric acid build up in your body. This condition generally affects your feet. If you are suffering from this disease, then you will experience pain and swelling in the joints of your foot, especially on your big toe. Gout attacks, which include sudden and intense pain, can create a sensation that your foot is on fire.
What Are The Common Gout Symptoms?
Some people might have the presence of high levels of uric acid in their blood, but might not show any symptoms. This is known as asymptomatic gout. But in other cases, gout comes with a variety of symptoms. The signs and symptoms of this disease commonly occur suddenly, particularly at night. Some of the common gout symptoms include intense pain in your joints, especially in the big toe, inflammation and redness on the affected joints, lingering discomfort, and limitedmobility.
Even though gout commonly affects the joints of your big toe, it can also affect your other joints including knees, ankles, wrists, elbows, fingers, etc. When the gout symptoms progress, you might experience limitations in the freedom to move your joints properly resulting in limited mobility.
What Are The Causes Of Gout?
Gout is the result of the excess build up of urate crystals in your joints. Urate crystals are formed when your blood contains higher concentrations of uric acid. Uric acid is produced by your body when it breaks down purines, which are substances found in your body naturally. Certain conditions including dehydration, metabolism disorders, etc. can result in the production of excess amounts of uric acid in your body. In addition to this, kidney or thyroid problems or some other conditions can make it difficult for your body to eliminate excess uric acid. All these problems can result in different gout symptoms.
Purines are found in abundance in certain foods like steak, seafood and organ meats, etc. Alcoholic beverages and sweetened drinks can also contain high concentrations of purines. Therefore, if you have gout, consuming these foods can make your gout symptoms worse.
Are There Any Risk Factors For Gout?
There are some factors that can trigger gout. You are at the risk of developing this condition if you have higher levels of uric acid in your body. Some factors that can increase the levels of uric acid in your body include diet, obesity, certain medical conditions, etc. If your diet includes higher amounts of seafood and meat it can trigger the production of higher levels of purines. In addition to this, sweetened beverages and alcohol consumption can also result in this condition.
If you have overweight, your body might produce more uric acid and your kidneys will have more difficulty in eliminating this compound. Also some medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart and kidney problems, metabolic syndrome, etc. can also trigger gout.
If your family members had gout, you are more likely to develop this disease. Age and sex can act as risk factors for the development of this disease. Men are at higher risk to have gout than women, as women have lower levels of uric acid. Men between the age of 30-50 are at higher risk for developing this condition, whereas, women are at greater risk after menopause. Recent surgery or trauma can also act as a risk factor for this disease.
Can Gout Result In Complications?
Sometimes, gout can lead to other severe conditions including recurrent gout, advanced gout, and kidney stones. Some people might never experience the symptoms and signs of this disease again, but some people can experience gout several times each year. Recurrent gout may lead to erosion of a joint if left untreated. Hence, it can permanently damage that joint.
If you do not take proper medications for gout, it might result in the formation of deposits of urate crystals under your skin resulting in skin nodules. Even though they are not painful, they might become tender and swollen during gout attacks. In addition to this, when urate crystals accumulate in your kidney, it can lead to kidney stones.
When Should You See A Doctor For Gout?
If not treated properly, gout can lead to severe problems. Hence, it is important to take proper gout medications in the early stages itself. If you feel sudden and severe pain in your joints, it is better to consult a doctor. Otherwise, gout can result in the damage of your joints thereby affecting their mobility. Seek medical attention when you have fever along with inflammation and swelling in your joints, as it can be a sign of infection.