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Gout Disease - Featured Image

Gout is a painful arthritis condition that results in pain, tenderness, and inflammation in the joints. It can happen to anyone and at any time. While gout pain is generally felt in the hallux or the big toe, it can affect other areas too. Its vital to understand the implications of gout in more detail to identify and tackle this disease in a timely and efficient way.

What causes gout?

Gout is caused by excess uric acid in the body. Uric acid results from the breakdown of purines, which are naturally present in the body and also found in certain foods. The body generally removes the excess uric acid via the kidneys. The issue arises when the body fails to maintain the required levels of uric acid by either producing too much or failing to eliminate the excess quantity.

When uric acid levels become too high, sharp and hard crystals begin to form and deposit in various joints. You may not even be aware of this build-up happening over time.

Gout disease: Signs and Symptoms to know

Gout disease can present various symptoms, which can also vary in severity. The symptoms can feel quite severe during the flare phase of the disease. On the other hand, during the remission phase, you may not experience any symptoms at all.

Some of the most prevalent gout symptoms during an attack are:

  • Intense pain that strikes suddenly in joints like your big toe, knee, fingers, wrist, ankle, elbow, etc.
  • Swelling, redness, tenderness, and stiffness in the joint
  • Inflaming sensation in the joint, comparable to the feeling of it being on fire
  • Discomfort in the joint that persists for days to weeks

Key risk factors for gout disease

Certain risk factors make you more vulnerable to hyperuricemia, or high uric acid, which in turn could lead to gout disease. Here are the ones to be aware of:

  • Men are at higher risk than women. However, menopausal women are prone to gout as well
  • Prior history of gout in the family
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Use of medicines like diuretics
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • A diet which has an excess amount of fructose and animal proteins

It’s worth noting that not everybody with high uric acid levels will experience gout.

Gout: Diagnosis and Treatment

If you’ve been feeling sudden and intense joint pain, it’s time to visit your general physician or rheumatologist for a consultation. You should share your symptoms in detail with your doctor, who’ll examine the affected joint and may order the following tests to diagnose gout:

  • Blood tests to check your uric acid level. However, an elevated level of uric acid alone isn’t enough to confirm gout.
  • Ultrasound of joints to detect the presence of uric acid crystals.
  • A joint fluid test in which fluid is extracted from the affected joint. The fluid is then examined to see if it consists of uric acid crystals, bacteria, or something else.
  • X-rays to exclude any other possible reasons for the inflamed joint.

Once your doctor has confirmed a gout diagnosis, the next step is to devise a suitable treatment plan.

There are two types of medications used for gout treatment. While certain medicines are advised to manage the pain and inflammation symptoms of gout, other medicines may be prescribed to reduce the uric acid levels in the body.

  • To manage gout symptoms, medications like corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and colchicine may be suggested.
  • To bring down uric acid levels, medications like febuxostat and allopurinol (for restricting the production of uric acid) and probenecid (for supporting the excretion of uric acid) may be recommended.

You must take medicines under the supervision of your doctor. Work with them to outline a treatment plan that works for your specific case.

Complications of untreated gout

Seeking timely treatment for gout disease is essential. If not treated, the frequency of gout flares can increase, and the disease may even start affecting other joints. Continuous gout attacks can deteriorate your arthritis over time (known as gouty arthritis). From cardiovascular problems to joint erosion, there can be many harmful consequences.

If uric acid levels continue to remain high, the crystals may start building up in the urinary tract as well, thus leading to kidney stones. As gout disease worsens and reaches the advanced stage, you may develop tophi, which are hard deposits of the uric acid crystals under the skin. Tophi can form in heels, toes, knees, elbows, fingers, etc. Even though tophi aren’t painful, they can disrupt daily activities and damage joints.

How to live a healthy and pain-free life with gout

Gout attacks can feel debilitating and hamper many aspects of your life. However, through diet and lifestyle improvements, you can bring the disease as well as its negative impact under control. Here are some effective practices and remedies for gout pain that you can adopt:

  • Work out consistently and be mindful of your weight. Be careful to perform physical activities that don’t put too much stress on the joints.
  • Living with gout can be quite stressful, but stress can be a trigger for a gout attack, so try to keep the stress at a minimum.
  • Ensure sufficient water intake to support proper kidney functioning.
  • Identify if you have any specific triggers for a gout flare that you need to be cautious about.

Wrapping Up

While gout is an incurable condition, there are many ways to manage it to promote healthy living. Through medicines and self-care, you can minimise the impact of the disease on your life. Not only is it possible to reduce the frequency of gout attacks, but it’s also possible to reduce the pain and intensity of these attacks.

If you or someone you know is struggling with gout, then visit the nearest CK Birla Hospital or book your appointment with Dr. Rakesh Mattoo to get the best gout treatment and care.


Q 1. When should I see a doctor for gout?

A. If you’ve been experiencing symptoms commonly associated with gout, you should see your doctor immediately. In case there’s another medical issue causing the gout-like symptoms, like a joint infection, you want to get ahead of that promptly.

Q 2. How can I get quick relief from a painful gout attack?

A. Some quick remedies for gout pain include elevation of the impacted area and application of an ice pack. Talk to your doctor about medication for pain relief.

Q 3. What are some common warning signs of gout to watch out for?

A. If you feel severe joint pain (especially at night) that is sudden and extreme at the beginning and subsides after a few hours, it could be a sign of gout. Your joint is also likely to feel tender to even the slightest touch.

Q 4. How long does a gout attack last?

A. A typical gout attack can affect you for 1-2 weeks. The pain is worst during the first few hours of the attack. Treatment can help reduce the duration.

Q 5. What are some of the foods to avoid with gout?

A. Drinks and foods to avoid with gout include alcohol, organ meats, red meats, some seafood like sardines and scallops, fructose-rich products, etc.

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