- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Common Symptoms of Gout
Gout is a type of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in your system. For some people this is caused by the kidneys overproducing uric acid. For others it is caused by eating too many foods rich in purines. The now abundant uric acid cannot be flushed from your system and instead crystallizes in your joints causing arthritis pain that often comes and goes in flares.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms it is important to see your doctor. She will be able to tell you definitively whether or not your have gouty arthritis and can begin treating it. Fortunately, if you are diagnosed with this condition, symptoms are often relieved with simple dietary changes.
Knowing if you are at risk for developing gout can help you pinpoint whether or not you may be afflicted with the condition. Often, people with this condition have a family history, are overweight men, drink excessive amounts of alcohol, take niacin, eat foods like cured meats that are high in purines, people who take diuretics or people who have had an organ transplant.
Other risk factors include lacking an enzyme that breaks down purines and lead exposure. However, you will often not know if you fit into either of these categories.
Joint pain and stiffness are undoubtedly the most common symptoms of gout. However, gout is unique in the way it will cause joints to swell, become red and feel warm to the touch. The swelling can be so severe that it will appear as if you have a gold ball hanging off of the large joint of the big toe, a common site of gout symptoms.
To further help determine whether or not you have gout over some other type of arthritis it is important to realize that the symptoms often flare during times of stress, illness, excessive drug or alcohol use or after eating purine heavy foods.