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Gout symptoms, treatment & prevention

An arthritic condition, gout causes inflammation and swelling in joints in the body - most commonly the big toe.

Other joints that can be affected include:

  • Instep
  • Heel
  • Ankle
  • Knee
  • Finger
  • Wrist
  • Elbow

Severe joint pain. This can develops quickly and may be so severe that even the touch of bedclothes is unbearable
  • Red shiny skin around the joint
  • Peeling skin
  • Left untreated, attacks can become more frequent and last longer.

    Interestingly, the old notion that eating and drinking too much causes this condition has been proved wrong, although over-indulgence in alcohol, and obesity, can both increase the possibility of attacks.

    The actual cause is a build up of urate in your body. Urate (or uric acid) is a chemical that is found in the blood (the plasma) in the form of a salt. It is normally harmless, but in those prone to the condition, a build up leads to the formation of tiny crystals in the joints.

    Treatment is simple - rest the affected joint, and apply ice to reduce the pain and inflammation. In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce the pain and swelling.