Living with Gout
Gout is a common but complex form of arthritis that can affect anyone. In general, men tend to be more likely to develop the condition, but women are known to suffer from it as well, especially following menopause. The most common characteristic of the disease is a sudden and severe attack of pain, redness and tenderness of the joints. Most commonly, the big toe is affected in the joint at its base.
A person who has gout can feel completely fine for some time and then experience an attack without warning. For example, many individuals with the condition experience a sudden wakening in the middle of the night where they have a lot of pain in their big toe. Often, the pain feels as though the toe is on fire. This type of pain can become so intense that it might even be impossible to wear socks or have a blanket covering the individual.
Gout is caused by the blood containing too much uric acid. Generally speaking, too much uric acid in the system is harmless and most people who have a high level in their blood don’t ever experience gout. However, the medical condition develops when the uric acid levels are high enough to transform to hard crystals in the joints. This is why the pain associated with gout is so bad and is localized to the joints.
When a person experiences an attack from gout, there are a few symptoms that are highly common. To repeat, attacks most commonly occur at night without warning. The pain in the joints is intense and can linger for hours. The most severe attack of pain can last anywhere from approximately four to 12 hours. Once the pain subsides, there is still a feeling of discomfort that remains. The individual will very likely have a limited range of motion following a gout attack and there is commonly redness and inflammation of the joints. The areas affected may also feel tender and warm to the touch.
Although it is an unpleasant medical condition, gout is treatable with a variety of medications. A doctor can prescribe corticosteroids or a type of pain reliever called Cochicine. It should be noted that the latter can cause negative side effects, however, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Over the counter drugs like ibuprofen and other NSAIDs can be taken as well, but perhaps the best options are medications that block the production of uric acid. It is important to discuss the options with your doctor.