Gout arthritis refers to a form of arthritis triggered by deposits of uric acid crystals (a waste product that is normally excreted through urine) in the body – Excess uric acid settles in joints, tendons and surrounding tissues, causing inflammation, pain and swelling.

While the other types of arthritis develop slowly, an attack of gout happens suddenly and often overnight. The joint at the base of the big toe is the most commonly affected, but it can also affect the feet, ankles, knees, wrists, fingers and elbows. Severe gout can sometimes affect many joints at once too.

Risk Factors

1. Diet – The diet we have can play a role in the formation of gout arthritis. Having a diet rich in meat and high-      purine food, such as seafood, and certain protein rich food can cause increase of uric acid in blood.

2. Dehydration – Quick loss of water from the body and the situation of not replenishing it will result in the building up of uric acid content in the blood, as they are removed from the body mostly through urine.

3. Obesity – The more weight you have, the more likely is the chance to develop gout arthritis, especially in the knee.

4. Trauma – Gout arthritis have an increased chance to be developed after an injury or a surgery.

5. Health Problems – Kidney problems or problems related to metabolism can increase the risk of developing gout arthritis, as uric acid won’t be flushed out from the body.

6. Drug Treatments – Medicines known as diuretics, or water tablets, usually used to treat high blood pressure, heart failure etc. can increase the probability of developing gout arthritis.

7. Too much Alcohol – Alcohol is a strong risk factor for Gout as it can raise the uric acid levels in the blood stream.

Symptoms

Gout arthritis develops quickly, often within 12-24 hours. The symptoms of this condition include:

• Severe pain, swelling and tenderness in the affected joint
• Skin over the joint may feel hot, tight and look red.
• Loss of appetite
• Limited movement of the affected joint
• Fever
• Nausea

Diagnosis

Gout arthritis may mostly mimic the conditions of some joint infections. To make an accurate diagnosis, the doctor will closely examine the affected joint and take the full medical history. Blood tests can be used to determine whether there is an excessive amount of uric acid in it. Synovial fluid from the affected joint will also be taken to check the presence of uric acid crystals in it. X-rays can also be used to check for joint damage. The pain of gout arthritis often may last for a week, but if consulted with a doctor in time, the pain can be eased quickly and further problems can be kept at bay.