Gout is an inflammatory arthritis which occurs commonly in middle-aged men. Gout is caused by abnormal levels of uric acid in the blood or tissue, which eventually crystallise into a joint and results in the formation of small crystals. These small uric acid crystals cause an intense inflammatory response that causes a painful arthritis attack called a gout attack. Acute gout episodes can cause pain that can occur in the big toe joint, knee, ankle, elbow and other joints around the body. Alcohol, overeating acidic foods, obesity, dehydration and having a diet full of purine type foods eg: meat, sweetbread and shellfish are all common factors which can cause an acute gout attack.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Acute gout is often sudden, without any warnings and commonly occurs at night.
- Extreme pain, redness and swelling which is most severe in the first 12 – 24 hours of the joint affected by gout.
- Hypersensitivity around the joint and commonly describes the weight of a bed sheet causing intolerable pain.
- Annoying lingering discomfort in joint after severe gout attack lasting for a few days.