Gout is one of the most common chronic arthritis characterised by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness and tenderness in joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe. An acute attack of gout can wake you up in the middle of the night feeling as though your big toe is on fire. The affected joint is hot, swollen and so tender that you have difficulty turning in bed or allow slight touch. The initial episodes will subside completely within a week. Other joints may be involved, usually in the lower limb before upper limbs and more joints simultaneously in the later stages.
Men are more likely to get gout, but women become increasingly susceptible to gout after menopause. Gout occurs when uric acid crystals accumulate around your joint, causing the inflammation and intense pain of a gout attack. Uric acid crystals can form when you have high levels of uric acid in your blood that they can no longer remain dissolved.
Fortunately, gout is treatable, and there are ways to reduce the risk that gout will recur.
Treatment and drugs
Long term medications to help lower the uric acid level is usually required when people with gout develop more severe conditions such as:
• Recurrent gout - Gout episodes may increase in frequency and duration over time if the underlying problem of high uric acid is not addressed.
• Advanced gout - Untreated gout may cause deposits of urate crystals to form under the skin in nodules called tophi.
• Kidney stones - Urate crystals may collect in the urinary tract of people with gout, causing kidney stones.
• Deforming arthritis. Erosions and joint damage can develop overtime if gout is untreated.