Gout can be a very painful condition, as all sufferers will know. Gout attacks can happen very suddenly and you can experience stiff, swollen joints and burning pains.
Gout has been classified as a type of arthritis that develops from having consistently high levels of uric acid in your blood. Surprisingly, there can be a wide range of gout symptoms experienced by sufferers, but some people can remain asymptomatic, which means they show no symptom despite having elevated levels of uric acid in their blood.
Asymptomatic people are not normally treated for gout, but those that experience acute or chronic symptoms certainly do require treatment. While acute symptoms of gout can come on suddenly and don’t tend to last for long, chronic symptoms are those that are experienced repeatedly over a long period of time.
What are the symptoms of gout?
If you are unsure whether or not you have gout, you can look out for these common symptoms that can be an indication of either acute or chronic gout.
Pain, redness, and swelling of a joint, which can be very painful even from the lightest of touch. Some gout attacks happen at night and can be so painful that they can wake you up. Your joints may feel stiff and be difficult to move or bend.
In most cases, symptoms will occur in one joint at a time and usually starting in your big toe. However, other joints can be affected too, so it can help to keep a diary of any symptoms found, the joints they affect and the frequency of the symptoms.
Quite often the symptoms can come on suddenly and can remain with your for 12 to 24 hours before subsiding, but sometimes symptoms can stay with you for anything up to ten days.
While the pain and inflammation linked with gout can typically disappear between attacks, more frequent repeated attacks of acute gout can cause more permanent damage. You may also notice the skin around your affected joins will start to itch and peel as your gout condition improves.
In addition to your big toe, other commonly affected joints include:
Gout pain can be more severe than other forms of arthritic pain, but both acute and chronic symptoms of gout are treatable. If left untreated, gout can cause more serious problems such as joint erosion and deterioration.
Getting help from a gout specialist in London
To save time getting a diagnosis and treatment for gout, it makes a lot of sense to seek out a private gout specialist, such as Dr Naveen Bhadauria who is a Consultant Rheumatologist currently practising from the prestigious, world-renowned clinic rooms of 25 Harley Street in London, Spire London East, BMI Cavell and King’s Oak.
There are newer, cutting-edge treatments that can help you manage your symptoms of gout, including medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, colchicine, and corticosteroids such as prednisone that help to reduce inflammation and pain, or medication that block the production of uric acid.
Dr Bhadauria likes to incorporate a holistic approach with his treatments and long-term management of the health conditions in his patients, so will also work with you to make healthy lifestyle changes that may help to reduce or even prevent future gout attacks.
Who is more prone to gout?
While just about anyone can develop gout during their lifetime, those with psoriasis have nearly twice the risk of developing gout. Those with psoriatic arthritis have almost five times as high a risk.
If you have been diagnosed with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, it can help to look out for any signs of joint inflammation. If you start experiencing any gout symptoms, you should keep a diary of your experience and report this to your doctor.
In most cases, the doctor or clinician managing your condition will be aware of the possibility of crystal disease flare because of the increased association of psoriatic arthritis and gout. An evaluation for monosodium urate (gout) crystals should then be performed.
The genetic link to gout
According to recent research, it appears that some people are more susceptible to gout than others. Like many other diseases that affect us, genetics can be behind the chances of us developing gout.
Scientists have found 18 new variations in genes that can boost uric acid levels in the blood. Currently, gout affects around two per cent of people worldwide and is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis. However, research and modern medical developments have led to more effective gout treatments and better long term management of the condition.
Don’t forget that you don’t need to wait around to see your GP before getting your condition diagnosed and treated. You can book a private consultation with Dr Bhadauria at one of his private London clinics to enable you to access effective treatment sooner.