What is it?
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis.
What is the cause?
Gout is caused by the condition hyperuricemia, whereby there is too much uric acid accumulated in the body. The body will produce uric acid after breaking down purines found in the body and the food we eat. When there is too much uric acid in the body, the uric acid crystals (monosodium urate) will build up in the joints, tissues in the body.
What are the symptoms?
Gout will flare up suddenly and can last for days or weeks, followed by long period of remission before another flare begins. Gout usually occurs in one joint at a time, usually in the big toe. Other than the big toe, the joints in the ankle, knee are also affected. Symptoms include:
- Intense joint pain
- Lingering discomfort
- Inflammation and redness
- Limited range of motion
What are the risk factors?
- Health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and poor kidney function
- Drinking alcohol
- Diet high in fructose (fruit sugar)
- Diet high in purines. Purine-rich foods include red meat, offal and seafood such as anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout and tuna.
What is the treatment?
- Doctor will prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, steroids and anti-inflammatory drug colchicine to manage the pain of a flare up.
- Doctor will also prescribe drugs like allopurinol, febuxostat, and pegloticase to lower uric acid levels in the blood.
How to manage it?
- Making changes to diet and lifestyle such as losing weight, limiting alcohol intake and eating less purine-rich food will prevent future attacks.