Gout is a painful condition that occurs due to deposition of uric acid in crystalized form in the joints. Basically, it is a type of arthritis that causes intermittent pain, swelling, redness, heat, and stiffness in the joints. When the disease affects the joints of the big toe, the condition is known as podagra. Gout flares can be very painful and generally strike suddenly at night and without any warning. The disease is reported mostly in the people who are aged 40 years or older. When uric acid crystals are deposited in the kidneys, it may lead to the formation of kidney stone.
Causes of Gout:
The raised level of uric acid in the blood is the main reason of gout. Produced as a byproduct of protein breakdown in the body, uric acid is excreted by the kidney through urine. Its amount increases in the blood, if your body makes too much uric acid or it is not discharged properly. Thus, uric acid crystals begin to accumulate in the joints and cause gout. Some of the prime causes of gout are:
- Joint injury
- Organ transplant
- Kidney disease
- Hemolytic anemia
- High alcohol intake
- Genetic predisposition
- Foods including shellfish & red meats
Signs & Symptoms of Gout:
A person with gout has pain, swelling and redness in his joints. Most often, the big toe is affected by the disease. Gout can occur in the joints of feet, ankles, knees, hands, wrists and elbows. The following are the main symptoms of the disease:
- Severe pain in the joints
- Redness and inflammation in the affected area
- Stiffness in the joints
- Itchy and peeling skin
How to Diagnose and Treat Gout:
For diagnosing the disease, doctors first check its symptoms in the patient. Usually, a blood test and a joint fluid test are conducted to find the raised uric acid levels in the blood and the amount of uric acid crystals in the affected joints.
Doctors recommend medications to alleviate the severe pain and prevent gout flares as well as other complications. Colchicine, Colcrys, Zyloprim and Uloric are some of the most widely prescribed drugs for gout. When administered under the supervision of an experienced physician, these medications help ease pain and inflammation in your joints, and also checks uric acid formation.