How To Spot The Signs Of Gout
If one of your joints is experiencing sudden excruciating pain, you may be suffering from gout. One of the common symptoms of gout is a sudden inflammation of one of your big toes. This is the initial attack in 3 out of 4 cases. Other trouble spots can be the knee, elbow, ankle, heel, wrist, finger or spine.
Gout is a form of arthritis. It happens when your body does not process uric acid normally. This acid gathers in a joint and crystallizes. These tiny acid crystals causes excruciating pain in this joint. This is only exacerbated by swelling in the area where the crystal form.
There are ways to know whether your swollen joint is gouty or simply injured. Here are a few of those symptoms.
1. Night Attacks
Gout often first occurs in the middle of the night. Waking in the middle of the night with localized joint pain is a classic sign of gout.
2. Slight Fever in the Joint
If you have localize fever in the painful joint, this is a sign of gout. The temperature might only be elevated to 99.5 degrees, but is enough to be noticeable. Most of the time, fever is felt over the entire body, so this should be noticeable even at a lower fever.
A reddened joint is another classic sign of gout. Of course, redness and swelling are common in many painful conditions. But these symptoms are caused when the blood rushes into the gouty area.
You might have a tremendous ankle or knee pain, but cannot remember having done something to cause such an injury. If your pained ankle, knee or toe is reddened, this is a sign you have gout.
4. Alcohol Consumption or Other Dietary Factors
If you meet certain dietary preconditions, you are more likely to have gout.
It has been found that gout is common in those with high continued use of alcohol. Lack of fruits and berries in a diet are also linked to gout. It is common to believe that lack of physical activity is a contributing factor to gout.
Some believe that too much red meat in the diet has a dilatory effect. This is because red meat has a high purine count. Other foods with high purine are mushrooms, fish, spinach, cauliflower, asparagus and dried beans.
There is ongoing debate as to how much diet and activity have to do with gout. Some evidence links gout attacks to genetics, stemming from a kidney which cannot process uric acid. It has been shown that around half of all gout sufferers do not have elevated levels of uric acid, but that their body is unable to regulate the normal levels of uric acid in their body.
It is known that Africans are more prone to gout that Caucasians. It is also shown that Pacific Islanders have a high incidence of gout attacks. Whether this comes from diet, habits or genetics remains uncertain.
5. Increased Heart Rate
Gout often produces an increased heart rate. Gout sufferers often have a heart rate over 100 beats per minute during an attack.
6. General Fatigue
Perhaps due to the increased heart rate, those with gout often suffer from fatigue and lethargy. When this is combined with a swollen and painful joint, gout is a likely cause.
For more details about spotting the signs of gout, see: