What is Gout?
Gout is an increasingly common form of arthritis that mainly affects middle aged men but can also occur in women.
It is caused by combination of factors but most importantly a high level of Uric Acid in the bloodstream and is more common when there is a family history of the gout, a diet high in alcohol and meat and with increasing body weight.
What are the Symptoms?
Gout presents with pain, usually in one joint that increases dramatically over a 6-12 hour period and then resolves after 1-2 weeks. The joint also becomes red, swollen, difficult to move and is extremely extremely sore.
The joint most commonly affected is the big toe but it may also occur in the knee, foot, wrist, ankle, elbow and small joints of the hands. Swellings called “tophi” often occur under the skin and generally hard and painless with a chalky appearance.
What to do?
If you are concerned of having a diagnosis of gout make an appointment to see your doctor as there are other serious problems like skin or joint infections that can look very similar to gout.
Your doctor will usually make a provisional diagnosis on your symptoms and give treatment in the form of painkillers and anti-inflammatories.
It will be necessary to see your doctor again at a later date for blood tests and sometimes X-rays may be needed.
The goal of treating gout is PREVENTION.
Each time there is a flare out gout the affected joint is damaged and recurrent flares will cause permanent arthritis and in the joint. To do this medication is given to lower the level of uric acid in the blood and dietary advice with weight loss if overweight is essential.
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