Gout is intensely painful inflammatory arthritis, with attacks usually striking very quickly and often during the night.
Gout is caused by a substance called uric acid forming urate crystals in your joints, which can lead to painful inflammation.
Your symptoms may include:
- Intensely painful, red, hot and swollen joints.
- The skin over the joint appearing shiny and sometimes peeling.
Usually, gout causes symptoms in your big toe, but can also affect:
- Joints in the midfoot
Gout rarely affects joints towards the centre of the body, such as the spine, shoulders or hips. If several joints are inflamed at once, this is called polyarticular gout.
Urate crystals can also collect outside the joints and may even be seen under the skin, where they form small, firm white lumps called tophi. These aren’t usually painful but can break down, discharging pus-like fluid containing gritty white material.
Untreated gout is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and possibly kidney disease. If left untreated, crystals of urate build up in the body and can cause joint damage and increase the risk of other conditions such as heart disease. The treatment of gout is effective and can reduce the number of attacks of gout by 90%.
If you suspect you may have gout, contact the Rheumatology Team at Baddow Hospital and make an appointment with one of our Private GPs.