What is gout?
Gout is a very common type of inflammatory arthritis. It typically presents with acute flare-ups of sudden onset, severe pain, swelling, and inflammation of a joint, most commonly the big toe. This arthritis develops due to increased levels of uric acid in the blood, depositing in and around the joint. Usually, these flare-ups can last for a few days or a few weeks. It initially starts in one joint at a time and can spread to other joints like the midfoot, ankle, knee, elbow, and hand. Unlike many of the other arthritic conditions, this is an extremely controllable and manageable disease with a healthy lifestyle and medications.
Who can develop gout?
Gout is a common type of arthritis that can affect anyone. Men tend to be more impacted by this type of arthritis than women as the female hormone estrogen protects against gout. When women enter menopause (and have a significant decrease in estrogen), they are more likely to develop gout. Gout can occur at any age, even in children, but it is more common in middle-aged people, especially if you are overweight (BMI greater than 25). If you don’t know what your BMI is, go to: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm to calculate it.
Where does gout occur?
This type of arthritis differs from other types of arthritic conditions as it usually only affects one joint at a time. Common locations where gout can be found include the great toe, ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, or fingers, and the longer you have gout, the more likely it is to involve more joints.