Gout (joint inflammation uric acid)

Feet | Rheumatology | Gout (joint inflammation uric acid) (Disease)


Gout is a disease that results from an overload of uric acid in the body. Gout is considered a chronic and progressive disease. Chronic gout can also lead to deposits of hard lumps of uric acid in the tissues, particularly in and around the joints and may cause joint destruction, decreased kidney function, and kidney stones (nephrolithiasis).

Symptoms of gout include the rapid onset of severe joint pain. This often occurs in the big toe joint or the ankle, knee, wrist, or elbow. The inflamed joint is usually red, swollen, and tender.

Causes and Risk factors

The overload of uric acid leads to the formation of tiny crystals of urate that deposit in tissues of the body, especially the joints. When crystals form in the joints, it causes recurring attacks of joint inflammation (arthritis).

Gout has increased in frequency in recent decades affecting approximately one to two percent of the Western population at some point in their lives. The increase is believed to be due to increasing risk factors in the population, such as metabolic syndrome, longer life expectancy and changes in diet. Gout was historically known as the disease of kings or rich mans disease.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A clinical diagnosis is confirmed by the visualization of the characteristic crystals in joint fluid. Treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, or colchicine improves symptoms. Once the acute attack has subsided, levels of uric acid are usually lowered via lifestyle changes, and in those with frequent attacks allopurinol or probenecid provide long-term prevention.

The initial aim of treatment is to settle the symptoms of an acute attack. Repeated attacks can be prevented by different drugs used to reduce the serum uric acid levels. Ice applied for 20 to 30 minutes several times a day decreases pain. ...

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