Gout is a type of arthritis where uric acid is formed into crystals stacking up on the joints. Gout can be sudden, causing severe pain and inflammation, usually in one joint. Most commonly it occurs at the base of the big toe, although other joints may develop it, too. Gout is more frequent in men, although it occurs in women after menopause.



The cause of gout is higher than normal quantity of uric acid in the blood. Excessive quantity of uric acid can cause build-up of urate crystals in the joint.

The underlying cause of gout is not known, but it is known that genetic factor plays a role. In rare cases, kidney stones can be formed, too, also due to extra uric acid in the blood.

Gout may develop suddenly, although there can be other causes like: surgery, overweight, alcohol, regular use of diuretics or destruction of cells after chemotherapy.



The symptoms of gout are:

  • redness, warmth and swelling in the diseased joint because of the inflammation
  • intense pain, tenderness
  • slightly elevated body temperature
  • reduced mobility

In cases where people have gout in years, the crystals may pile up in the earlobe, or the soft tissues of the hand or leg and that is how tophi are developed.


Risk factors

More uric acid in the body causes gout. The factors that increase the urine acid in the blood are:

  • Food – eating lots of meat, seafood, beer, fructose beverages
  • Overweight – then the body produces more uric acid, which is making the job harder for the kidneys, which may not eliminate all of the uric acid
  • Family history
  • Age, sex
  • Use of diuretics, for high blood pressure for e.g.
  • Medical condition like diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure
  • Surgery



The possible complications of gout are the following:

  • Recurrent gout, which if untreated, may cause erosion or destruction of the joint
  • Development of tophi – accumulation of urate crystals under the skin (in the hands, fingers, feet or elbows); they don’t cause pain unless there is a gout attack, becoming tender and swollen
  • Kidney stones develop when the urate crystals accumulate in the urinary tract



Before you develop a gout, you feel no symptoms that there is excessive uric acid in your blood. Once you have a gout attack, you have to take care of type of food you eat: less meat, fish, poultry, avoid alcohol, high quantity of liquids, and keep a healthy weight.