causes inflammation and pain in the joints, much the same as arthritis
occurs when uric acid, usually carried in small amounts in the
bloodstream, reaches such a high level that it crystallizes in the
are several reasons for elevated uric acid levels, including:
hereditary enzyme deficiency
of the bodyís ability to eliminate it (by certain prescription
drugs, for example)
gout attack can happen very suddenly, producing severe joint pain
and swelling and a purplish discoloration of the skin over
the affected area. The person often feels ill and feverish. In
someone who is prone to gout, causes of an attack include:
first, only one joint is usually affected. Most often, itís the
one at the base of the big toe. Other areas affected by gout can
include the feet, ankle, knee, elbow and wrist.
alone, a first attack of gout will resolve on its own within a few
days. But going without treatment can cause the attacks to become
more frequent and extensive, and last longer. Over time, permanent
joint damage will occur. Therefore, it is important to see a physician as
soon as possible during or after a first episode.
like arthritis, is usually treated with short courses of
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Some patients also need to
take corticosteroids (in pills or by injection) to help relieve the
inflammation. If the patient has severe discomfort, a physician may
prescribe an additional pain reliever. An older drug, colchicine, is
used less often now than used to be the case but is sometimes added
to the regimen to make sure the gout doesnít flare up again.
the attack has ended, prevention is very important. People with gout
often learn to recognize the early signs of an attack and can take
their prescription medication to ward it off.
people develop chronic gout and must continue to take preventive
medication. This can include the drugs mentioned above and agents
designed to lower uric acid in the blood (such as probenecid) or
inhibit its production in the body (such as allopurinol).