What is Gout?
Gout is actually a form of arthritis and is also known as metabolic arthritis. Gout is the body's reaction to crystalline deposits in the spaces between joints. Uric acid crystals accumulate between the bones of certain joints, most commonly the big toe. This causes inflammation and severe pain.
Gout attacks are typically unexpected and happen in the middle of the night. They generally affect the big toe but can also affect the kness, elbows, thumbs or fingers. The pain and inflammation disappear after a few days but can recur.
Who can get affected by gout?
Gout generally affects men of middle-age, 50% of whom are genetically pre-disposed toward the condition. Men who are overweight or suffering from high blood pressure are also prone to gout especially if they are taking thiazide diuretics lower the body's water retention. Gout is rare in women and children
What are the symptoms of gout?
Some of the symptoms of gout are
sudden and severe pain in the big toe, ankle, knee or other joint
inflammation, swelling and heat in the joint
alternating chills and fever
strikes unexpectedly and may recur but symptoms do not last for more than a week.
People who chronically suffer from gout may feel small, hard nodules in the fleshy parts of hands, feet and earlobes. These are benign deposits of uric acid crystals called tophi that can eventually cause pain, stiffness and extrusions. If these deposits form in the kidneys, they can lead to formation of kidney stones
What causes gout?
Gout is caused by a high level of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is processed in the kidneys and excreted in urine. If too much uric acid is produced or enough is not eliminated, sodium urate crystals build up in the joints adn tendons causing inflammation, pressure and pain.
Some of the conditions that can lead to the disorder are
A condition known as pseudo gout or false gout is similar to gout but less painful and is caused by calcium crystals in the joints. It generally afflicts people age 60 and up.
- surgery or injury
- reaction to alcohol and drugs including prescription medicines.
- kidney disorders
- enzyme defficiencies
- lead poisoning
- hereditary conditions