Gout, also known as gouty arthritis, is the most common type of chronic inflammatory arthritis in adults.
An "attack" of gout can develop suddenly and can very quickly involve excruciating pain.3
Common gout symptoms include:3,4
Swelling in the legs or feet
Pain in the joints, decreased range of motion, tenderness and swelling
Mild fever, chill and a general unwell feeling
Gout attacks, or flares, can last for days or weeks, often starting at night
Early in the disease, joint inflammation occurs mainly in the foot and the big toe. As the disease progresses any joint can be affected.5
If it is left untreated, serious joint damage and wearing away of the joint can occur.3
Gout is triggered by a condition known as hyperuricemia.5 This is where there are increased levels of uric acid in the blood (a substance your body naturally creates when breaking down purines).4 The high level of uric acid leads to the accumulation of uric acid crystals in joints and surrounding tissues.3-5 The body's immune system is alerted to the high level of uric acid crystals, resulting in persistent inflammation and pain.3-5
Hyperuricemia is associated with certain risk factors which increase the chances of developing gout, these include obesity, poor diet and some medical conditions:6
If left untreated, gout can get progressively worse. Long-term effects of gout include:
It's important to note that gouty arthritis is one of the most well-understood and manageable forms of arthritis.6
Early intervention and treatment can prevent progression to advanced symptoms.6
If you are displaying any symptoms of gouty arthritis, it is important you speak to your doctor to obtain an accurate diagnosis.
Gouty arthritis is a common disease that affects up to 6.8% of the global population.2 The occurrence of gouty arthritis is seen to increase with age—in the US, almost 12% of men aged 70-79 are affected.8
A small joint fluid sample is taken by a healthcare professional — often by a bones and joints specialist known as a rheumatologist. This sample is studied under a microscope to look for uric acid crystals.4-6
Imaging methods such as x-rays, ultrasounds and CT scans are also used to visualize uric acid crystals, tophi and bone damage caused by the gout.3,6
Gouty arthritis can have a huge impact on quality of life due to the pain, frequency of gout attacks and their intensity, as well as the number of joints in the body affected.9 It is also common for gouty arthritis to occur alongside other conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and kidney disease.9
A gout diagnosis can be overwhelming. We hope the information on this page will help to answer questions you may have about living with the disease.
It is important to manage gouty arthritis to treat the pain and inflammation associated with gout attacks and prevent further build-up of uric acid crystals.6 Gout is usually treated with anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the severity of a gout attack. Examples of these include:
Lifestyle changes can also help to bring gouty arthritis attacks under control, including:6
There are a range of treatment options that can be discussed with your doctor or specialist.7,10
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