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Symptoms of Gout

What are some of the symptoms of Gout?

Gout attacks can be sudden and unexpected.

The onset of gout is usually quick and unexpected. Often, people who develop gout will do so during the night while sleeping, after having gone to bed in good health. During the night, they are awakened by acute pain. This pain has been described as feeling at first like a bucket of cold water has been poured over the affected area, with the pain increasing to a violent stretching, tearing sensation.

Symptoms of gout develop quickly (sometimes in 1 day) and typically occur in only one joint at a time. By the time you experience the symptoms of a gout attack, uric acid has been building up in your blood, and uric acid deposits have been forming on one or more of your joints.

Symptoms of gout include:

  • Pain. Pain that starts during the night and is so intense that even light pressure from a sheet is intolerable.
  • Inflammation and swelling. You’ll notice swelling and experience inflammation of the affected joint.
  • Warmth.
    gout crystal in the toe.
    If you gently touch the area, you’ll actually feel heat.
  • Big toe tenderness. Your big toe becomes extremely tender to the touch. This symptom is called podagra.
  • Stiffness. The affected join is stiff and hurts to move.
  • Discomfort. A rapid increase in discomfort, lasting for some hours of the night and then easing during the next 2 to 7 days.
  • Peeling and Itching. As the gout attack subsides, the skin around the affected joint may peel and feel itchy.
  • Redness. Very red or purplish skin develops around the affected joint, which may appear to be infected.
  • Fever. A low-grade fever may develop as a result of the attack.
  • Loss of mobility. You'll start to notice that you have limited movement in the affected joint (you cannot move your toe).

What causes these painful flare-ups?

When a flare-up occurs, the pain can be excruciating. Knowing what potentially causes these painful flare-ups, can help you to modify your lifestyle or at least prepare for the next episode to strike. These are some potential causes:

  • Heavy alcohol consumption. The high concentration of purines in alcohol can contribute to a painful flare-up. Also, alcohol interferes with uric acid removal, enabling it to build up on your body.
  • Excessive eating. A steady diet of protein-rich foods (meat and seafood) not balanced by fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can set the stage for an attack.
  • Stubbing your toe. The trauma to your toe can cause poor circulation, which enables uric acid to build up in the area triggering a flare-up.
  • Surgery. Gout attacks triggered by recent surgery are related to changes in the body fluid balance as patients temporarily discontinue normal oral fluid intake in preparation for and after the surgery.
  • Infection and medication. An infection that requires medication can also produce a flare-up. Some medications impair the kidney’s ability to flush out uric acid. If you are prone to gout attacks, ask your doctor about medications that don’t affect your kidneys.

More serious factors are conditions that can cause gout. If you have any of the following, you may be more susceptible to gout attacks:

  • Hyperuricemia
  • Lymphona (Hodgkin’s Disease)
  • Leukemia
  • Hemolytic Anemia

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