Gout is a type of arthritis, which is a condition that makes your joints swell up. It is caused by too much uric acid in your blood.
The swelling caused by a gout attack is sudden and very painful. It can affect the feet, hands, wrists, elbows, and knees, but is most common in the big toe.
You can do an easy home-test for gout, and get treatment from Zava.
Key facts about gout
- 1 in 40 people in the UK have gout
- It’s more common in men than women
- Children do not usually get gout
- Sudden, severe pain in one or more joints, particularly those at the ends of your arms and legs
- Hot, red, and swollen skin on the joints
- Pain and swelling lasting 3 to 10 days
Gout is caused by too much uric acid in your blood. Uric acid is made when the body breaks down a particular chemical compound called a purine. We usually get rid of this acid when we pee.
If the body is making too much uric acid, or not getting rid of enough, it can make crystals form inside the joints. These crystals irritate the joints and make them swell.
A rise in levels of uric acid can be caused by:
- medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease
- medication for conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or blood clots
- eating a lot of food that contains purines, like red meat, seafood, and offal
- drinking above the recommended amount of alcohol
- drinking large amounts of sugary drinks
If you have symptoms of gout, a doctor will usually first check that you do not have an injury or infection in the joint. If you do not, they would then normally recommend a uric acid test to see if it’s gout that’s causing the symptoms.
When you have a gout attack
To help with the pain, and treat the swelling, you can take medications like:
Avoiding gout in the future
To avoid having further gout attacks, you might consider:
- lowering the amount of foods you eat that are high in purines (red meat, seafood, offal)
- lowering the amount of sugary drinks and alcohol you have
- taking medication that lowers the amount of uric acid in your body