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:
Severe joint pain. This can develops quickly and may be so severe that even the touch of bedclothes is unbearableRed shiny skin around the jointPeeling skinLeft 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.