Gout is a sudden and severe pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in joints, especially the joint at the base of big toe. It often occurs in the middle of the night. The pain is so severe that it may feel like your joint is on fire.
Symptoms of gout are intense joint pain, big toe, ankles, knees, elbows, wrists or fingers in the first few hours of the attack. The affected joint will be hot, swollen and very tender. Even the slightest touch may be unbearable. Range of motion will be limited. After the initial pain subsides you may have a lingering discomfort for a few days or weeks. Later attacks can last longer than a few hours and may affect more joints.
Gout can be managed by managing your diet.
Gout is caused by the accumulation of urate crystals in the joints. Urate crystals are formed from uric acid, which is formed by your body as it breaks down purines. Consuming foods that are sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose) leads to higher liver of purines in your body. This results in higher levels of urates and brings on an attack of gout. Avoiding foods such as soda, ice cream and candy that contain fruit sugars reduces your risk of an attack of gout.
Risk factors of gout are obesity, certain medications, especially hypertension medicines, hypertension, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart and kidney diseases. If someone in your family has gout, you are at increased risk of getting it too. Recent surgery or trauma also increases your risk of getting gout.
Gout attacks can recur and if untreated, you it may proceed to the advanced stage when crystals form under the skin. These may become tender during succeeding gout attacks. Untreated gout also increases your risk of getting kidney stones.
If you are prone to gout attacks, you can manage and prevent them by keeping your body hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding alcoholic beverages and foods that contain fructose, avoiding meat, poultry and fish, and controlling your weight.
If you have developed any of the symptoms of gout and have fever, you should consult a doctor immediately.
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