Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis that develops when the blood’s level of uric acid is too high, causing needle-like urate crystals to form in the joints, usually around the big toe. The crystals cause pain, inflammation, burning, and swelling that is so severe, a sufferer can be woken by an attack in the middle of the night. Gout affects men more, usually between 40 and 60 years of age, but post-menopausal women also are susceptible. Lifestyle modifications that include avoiding alcohol, drinking two to four liters of fluid everyday, and limiting intake of poultry, meat, and fish can stem attacks.

Symptoms

  • Acute, sudden pain (often at night and without warning)
  • Swelling, tenderness, and redness around a joint (commonly the base of the big toe)
  • Lingering joint discomfort

Treatment

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Colchicine to relieve pain
  • Xanthine oxidase inhibitors to block production of uric acid
  • Probenecid to help removal of uric acid