Gout symptoms

Gout is a form of recurring acute arthritis, of the inflammatory kind. This type of arthritis is usually caused due to an increased level of uric acid in the patient’s body. In a person affected by gout, the uric acid in the body crystallizes in form then deposits around and in the joints and its nearby tissue and tendons. This causes painful, red swellings to appear on the affected area. This is not a disease that occurs overnight. Gout is caused after years of crystallized uric acid buildup in the affected area. Chronic gout can cause the deposition of high amounts of lumpy uric acid crystals around and in joints, and these large accumulations can later cause joint destruction.

Gout carries a 20% genetic factor, i.e. people whose parents suffered from gout have a 20% more likelihood of getting gout themselves. Eating and lifestyle habits, like overconsumption of red meats, alcoholism, starvation or dehydration can all cause gout. Patients suffering from trauma or undergoing chemotherapy also have an increased likelihood of contracting gout.

Symptoms of gout may occur as an aftereffect of an illness or surgery. It may appear initially in the nodules of the hands, ears or elbows. Usually gout occurs initially in the big toe; however, other joints are just as prone to gout infection. Gout usually occurs on four subsequent levels, according to severity.

The symptoms of gout differ from stage to stage as described below:

Asymptomatic Stage:
This is the primary stage of gout. At this stage the level of uric acid level in the blood rises, but it is not enough to produce any noticeable symptoms.

Acute Stage:
This is the secondary stage of gout. These symptoms usually last from five to ten days consequently at a time. The symptoms of this stage of gout include abrupt joint pains, inflammations, fever, severe joint pains at night, affected joints become hot and tender to the touch, affected joints are reddish or bruised in appearance, affected areas are left itchy and peeling after pain subsides.

Inter-critical Stage:
In between episodes of gout, there are phases of time that are symptom-free. While for most people this stage lasts anywhere from six months to two years after the first attack of gout, others remain without symptoms for times ranging between five to ten years.

Chronic Stage:
At this final stage of gout, the symptoms and effects ‘settle in’ and the levels of uric acid crystals increase. Large amount of crystallized uric acid become deposited in the cartilage as well as tendons and soft tissues, and even on the membranes between bones. Patients often experience an array of symptoms, such as joint stiffness, restricted joint motion, persistent joint pains, and sores with white pus over the affected area, simultaneous joint pains in various areas of the body, deteriorated kidney function, gout patients have a tendency to get kidney stones more often than others.

Early detection of gout can help doctors to provide better treatment. Contrarily, by the time proper symptoms are present to indicate gout, the disease has probably progressed towards a chronic stage. As the symptoms of gout are very similar at first to those of many kinds of arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis etc.), it is difficult for doctors to diagnose it.

While there is no cure for gout as of yet, early detection of gout, along with maintaining a proper lifestyle and a healthy diet can alleviate the associated pains considerably. With the help of proper medication like NSAIDs, steroids and colchicine, patients can relieve themselves of the symptoms of gout and postpone further gout attacks.


Last updated on Mar 31st, 2010 and filed under Musculoskeletal Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Response for “Gout symptoms”

  1. Pain Clinic says:

    Gout also affects the closest joint and slowly propagates towards others. It is very important to get it treated as early as possible.

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