What is gout?

Gout is a type of arthritis.  Attacks can occur rapidly and are very painful.  Gout usually affects the big toe though it can occur in the rest of the feet, ankles, knees, hands, wrists, elbows and even ears.


What causes gout?

Gout occurs when there is too much uric acid in the blood stream and instead of this uric acid leaving the body through our kidneys it turns into uric acid crystals in joints.

Causes of increased uric acid include;

  • Too much alcohol especially beer
  • Eating foods high in purines such as red meat, seafood
  • Taking diuretics
  • Having certain medical conditions; diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol
  • Being overweight

Males and those with a family history of gout are also more likely to suffer with it.


Symptoms of gout

Joints affected by gout are red, swollen and painful.  They can also look shiny.  Gout can be so painful that the sufferer can not bear anything touching the joint.


Treatment of gout

Anti-inflammatories are the first level of treatment for gout and some of these can be obtained over the counter from your Pharmacist.  There are also medications available from your Doctor to treat an attack if anti-inflammatories aren’t appropriate.

If someone suffers with recurrent attacks then a medication may be prescribed by your Doctor to prevent gout attacks from occurring.  These preventative medicines need to be taken every day even if an attack occurs.  In this instance treatment medicine can be used in addition.


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