What is Gout Arthritis

Gout - In this Page:

Gout characterised as an inflammatory form of arthritis, caused by a substance called uric acid.  Uric acid is a waste product produced by your body after the digestion of protein in the foods.  It is being passed out in the urine.  If your body produces too much of it or the kidneys do not remove enough of it, the remaining uric acid starts to build up in the joints, causing needle-like crystal deposits to accumulate at the joints. 

This leads to inflammation, resulting in swelling and severe pain.  In the initial stage, gout usually affects only a single joint, commonly seen in the big toe.  Over time, however, it can become chronic and spread to other joint, such as the knee, hand, elbow and the wrist, if left untreated.  One of the most treatable forms of arthritis, inflammation can be prevented with the combination of proper diet and care.

Risk Factors of Getting Gout

  • Injury on the joints
  • Drinking large amount of alcohol or eating too much protein at once
  • Taking diuretics (water tablet) or low dose aspirin which is used to treat high blood pressure or prevent heart disease
  • Obesity – Researchers report that uric acid is associated with body weight
  • Eating purine rich food (food rich in meat and seafood)
  • Illnesses such as diabetes, high cholesterol, narrowing of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) are at higher risk

Who are Likely to Get Gout?

It is commonly seen in men of any age, women are rare.

Gout Arthritis Symptoms

  • Pain, swelling, red and hot
  • Peeling, itchy and flaky skin over the affected joints
  • The attack takes from 1 – 10 days, and return to normal. There may be years apart between attacks.
  • Tired
  • Fever
  • Frequent attack is rare and if you have it, you are likely to get chronic gout. Chronic gout can develop white pimples under the skin of ears, fingers or elbows and can be painful.
  • Can develop kidney stone if uric acid level is high

In general, further attack of gout can be prevented by keeping down the amount of uric acid in your blood. This can be done by losing some weight if your overweight or obese. Cutting down some foods like alcohol and red meat will be helpful.


Gout, available from Arthritiscare.org.uk (Assessed 13th May 2009)

Gout risk factor, available from Arthritis.about.com (Assessed 13th May 2009)

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