An attack of gout is caused by uric acid suddenly forming crystals inside a joint, causing intense inflammation with pain, redness and swelling. Uric acid is produced when purines, which are chemicals present within all living cells, are broken down. People prone to gout have an inherited tendency to produce a lot of uric acid. High levels accumulate in the bloodstream and are deposited in the body’s tissues.
It is not always clear what causes the uric acid suddenly to form crystals in the joints and set off inflammation, but a common trigger is minor injury to the joint.
Symptoms of a Gout Attack
A typical attack of gout is easily recognisable.
What Happens During an Attack of Gout
- At first, there is only minor discomfort but, within a matter of hours, the joint is swollen, hot, red and extremely painful.
- The pain is so severe that wearing shoes is out of the question, and you may not even be able to bear the touch of bedsheet.
- In 70 per cent of people, the knuckle joint of the big toe is the first joint, and often the only joint to be affected, although symptoms can develop in any joint.
Often your doctor will be able to recognise that you have gout from your symptoms and the appearances of the affected joint. You will need to have blood tests to measure the amount of uric acid in your bloodstream.
Treatment for Gout
- Medicines to lower the level of uric acid in your body.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines.
- Anti-inflammatory Injection.
Help Yourself to Avoid Gout
- Drink plenty of water.
- Reduce your weight.
- Keep your alcohol consumption within recommended levels.
- Cut down on food and drink containing high levels of purines e.g. red meat, beans, nuts.