Gout is a type of arthritis that causes sudden attacks on the joints including tenderness, burning pain, swelling, and stiffness. In 50 percent of the cases, the joint at the base of the big toe is affected.
Gout is caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood which gather and form hard crystals in the joints. Many people with too much uric acid in their blood will not be affected in such a severe way, as gout affects 1-2% of the population. Men are more affected than women, and most commonly, those who get gout are known to eat a lot of meat, drink a lot of beer, and are overweight. Those who experience one attack are likely to experience another, usually within the year.
If gout goes untreated, it can cause lasting harm to joints and tendons. Treatment typically includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids, or colchicine. Once the acute attack is managed, preventative measures should be put into place. Gout can be prevented through lifestyle changes, such as losing weight for those who are overweight, or by taking medication to lower uric acid levels.