Gout is a form of arthritis (inflammation of a joint) that can affect toe, foot, ankle, knee, and elbow joint. Gout arthritis causes sudden attacks of severe pain and swelling in the joints, often experienced at first in the big toe, and is most common in men.
Gout is caused by increased levels of uric acid in the bloodstream.
Uric acid comes from the breakdown of cells in your body, as well as chemicals called purines that are found in your food. It is your kidney’s job to filter uric acid in your blood and flush it out through urination.
However, when uric acid levels are too high and your kidneys are unable to remove the excess uric acid, small crystals can form in your joints. These crystals cause inflammation and swelling which can create an uncomfortable and painful experience.
There are a number of risk factors cited that can make a person more likely to get gout arthritis. Some of these include:
The symptoms of gout can develop quickly, sometimes within 12 to 24 hours and can be periodic. If you’re experiencing a gout attack, you’re likely to feel:
A gout attack can last typically up to 10 days, but in severe cases can occur for weeks.
Gout is common in New Zealand, with an estimated prevalence of 2.7% for the overall population and a prevalence of 3.75% in people aged 20 years or older. While anyone can get gout, it commonly affects adult men (particularly after age 40) and is uncommon in women until after menopause. It is estimated to affect adult men 3.5-times more than women and is more common in people of Maori and Pacific Island ethnicity.
The good news is, with help from your doctor and lifestyle changes, the acute (right now) symptoms can be treated and long term prevention can be achieved.
If you think you might have gout arthritis, rest until your symptoms improve, raise the inflamed joint and put an ice pack on it and do not exercise during an acute attack.
As soon as possible, make sure to book an appointment to see a doctor who can help you to treat gout. Gout is a condition that our online doctors at Bettr are able to treat. If you’d like to see a doctor about gout, book your online consultation below.
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