Gout is a painful condition that affects millions of people world wide. It can affect men and women equally. Gout is caused by an excessive amount of uric acid buildup in the body. This condition is known as hyperuricemia. Most individuals are able to process this uric acid so it doesn’t cause a problem. But some individuals cannot process the uric acid, and it will produce inflammation and swelling in a joint. Gout symptoms can be painful, and sometimes they can be debilitating.
Uric acid comes from the breakdown of purines. This waste product is found in the blood. Some individuals will suffer from conditions that prevent the body from eliminating uric acid. As this acid builds up in the body, it will transform into crystals. These crystals will travel to a joint where they can cause inflammation and swelling.
The symptoms of Gout can be categorized into several stages. The discomfort you will experience will depend upon the stage of Gout. Here are the three main stages of Gout.
In this stage of Gout, you will not experience any symptoms. However, if you were to have your blood tested, it would show elevated levels of uric acid.
Acute Intermittent Gout
In this stage of Gout, a single joint may become painful and inflamed. This Gout attack can last for approximately two weeks if you do not seek treatment. If you start a Gout treatment, you can reduce the time of experiencing symptoms significantly. After a Gout attack, you may not have another one for several weeks, months, or even years.
Chronic Tophaceous Gout
This is the worst type of symptoms of the Gout you can have. In this type of Gout, joints will be frequently inflamed. You can have more than one joint affected. The crystals that are responsible for Gout symptoms can adhere together to form tophi or lumps underneath the skin.
So, what are specific Gout symptoms you can expect to experience? When only one joint is affected as in acute intermittent Gout, this joint will become swollen and will have a shiny red color. It will be warm to the touch and extremely painful. The most common joint that is affected is the big toe. You will find it almost impossible to wear socks or shoes as any type of pressure on this toe will produce a considerable amount of pain.
Gout symptoms will usually start at night while you are asleep. You may be awakened by pain in the big toe. At this time, you can start to see the toe getting red and a little swollen. Once 8-12 hours have passed, the pain will escalate from bearable to intense. You may also experience fever and chills with a Gout attack. The main goal of any Gout attack is to decrease the severity of the symptoms of Gout. This can be done by taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications or NSAIDS.
Your doctor may prescribe a specific NSAID for you, or you can buy them over the counter. It is important that you stay away from aspirin when you have a Gout attack. Aspirin has been proven to raise the levels of uric acid in the blood, which can make your Gout worse.
Once you have the Gout symptom under control, you need to take measures to prevent future Gout attacks. Talk with your doctor about your possible causes of Gout attacks. He may need to change your medications or even prescribe medications to prevent future attacks. Eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight. A simple but effective way to prevent Gout attacks is to increase your water intake. This will help flush the excess uric acid from your body.