- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Gout Symptoms You Should Be Aware of
If you've ever had a gout attack, you know the pain can be intense. But what if you've never had one before. How do you know you are having an attack? Here are 4 of the more common gout symptoms and signs that most patients suffer from.
1. Nighttime onset
It is not uncommon for gout to occur in the middle of the night. If you wake up in the middle of the night with sharp pain in your joints, most notably your big toe, then it is very likely that you have gout. Now gout is not restricted to the big toe, this just happens to be the most common area for an attack to occur. I personally have had gout in the foot several times, but only in the toe once. It was absolutely the most painful place I've ever had it.
Why does symptoms of gout in the foot tend to begin at night? Part of the reason is you are not moving. When you move your joints, synovial fluid cleans out your joints. Due to inactivity while sleeping, this cleansing action is less active and uric acid crystals are able to settle in your joints. Not to mention, your extremities tend to get cold at night and this creates a better environment for crystallization of uric acid. This is why many medical experts believe gout tends to occur in your hands and feet.
2. sudden onset
Gout tends to come on suddenly, especially at night. Sudden accumulation of crystals in your wrists, elbows, feet, etc. when you are sleeping cause the body to react to this "invasion" of your affected joints. The body reacts by trying to stop the invasion which ends up causing swelling in an attempt to destroy the "invaders". Unfortunately, this swelling causes extreme pain in the process.
3. redness or swelling of affected joint
As we saw in the previous section, the body reacts to the uric acid crystals not being where they belong by causing swelling. This swelling is what causes most of the pain as well as the fact the uric acid crystals are like millions of tiny hypodermic needles gathered together to jab at you.
4. extremely sensitive pain
Uric acid is actually a normal result of your body's metabolism. When you eat purines in food, your body tries to break it down to where it can use it. The uric acid that is part of this metabolism is simply metabolic waste. When this waste is not able to be discarded by the body, it collects in your synovial fluid, as was stated earlier. When the crystals are formed they stop the joint from it's normal movement. These sharp needle like crystals cause intense pain.
It is not uncommon for gout pain to be so intense that even placing a light bed sheet on a gouty toe can cause excruciating pain. So if you experience sudden onset of pain, especially at night and it is intense, you probably have gout. This is especially more likely to be the case if you do not remember injurying the affected joint.
Here is a pretty laid back video about gout symptoms. I am using this video in honor of my paramedic partner of 10 years, Perry. My name just happens to be Tom and the two guys in the video also happened to be named Perry and Tom. We both have gotten gout in the past although, we are not the two gentlemen in this video and I am not affiliated with their site.
One thing I found humorous was they were drinking beer in the video. Alcohol is one of the worst things you can have in your diet if you have gout. They are doing it to make a point that they have found a way to drink and not get gout. It is possible, but I wouldn't advise it.