Gout is a common and complex form of arthritis that can affect anyone. It’s characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in one or more joints, most often in the big toe.
It occurs when urate crystals accumulate in your joint, causing the inflammation and intense pain of a gout attack. Urate crystals can form when you have high levels of uric acid in your blood. Your body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines. Purines are also found in certain foods, including red meat and organ meats, such as liver. Purine-rich seafood includes anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout and tuna. Alcoholic beverages, especially beer, and drinks sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose) promote higher levels of uric acid.
Normally, uric acid dissolves in your blood and passes through your kidneys into your urine. But sometimes either your body produces too much uric acid or your kidneys excrete too little uric acid. When this happens, uric acid can build up, forming sharp, needle like urate crystals in a joint or surrounding tissue that cause pain, inflammation and swelling.
Doctors usually diagnose gout based on your symptoms and the appearance of the affected joint. Tests to help diagnose gout include- Joint fluid test, Blood test, X-ray imaging, Ultrasound, Dual-energy computerized tomography (DECT).
Treatment of Gout is available in two types depending on two different problems. The first type helps reduce the inflammation and pain associated with gout attacks. The second type works to prevent gout complications by lowering the amount of uric acid in your blood. Which type of medication is right for you depends on the frequency and severity of your symptoms, along with any other health problems you may have.