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Gout is a form of arthritis characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness of one or more joints (the big toe is most commonly affected). The affected joint is fiery hot, swollen, painful and so tender to touch that slightest touch is unbearable and the attack may come suddenly. 


Gout occurs when there is the deposition of urates (due to high levels of uric acid in the body) in the joints triggering inflammation. Due to inflammation, there is swelling, redness, and pain. Uric acid is generally dissolved in the blood and is excreted by the kidneys via urine. But sometimes either the body starts to produce more uric acid or the kidneys are not able to excrete it properly and the urate crystals start depositing in the joints producing the symptoms.


Some of the symptoms like the involvement of the big toe, inflammation, and the intensity of pain can be more obvious with gout but other symptoms could be confusing. Here are a few symptoms to be looked at for early detection of gout:

  1. PAIN IN BIG TOE: The classic hallmark symptom of gout is the involvement of the big toe. Although any joint can be involved, in most of the cases big toe is inflamed due to which synovial fluid is built up and soon pain becomes very severe within 4 to 12 hours. Tenderness is so severe that any touch causes severe pain and the joint is fiery hot.
  2. INTENSE FIERY PAIN: the intensity of pain is very marked and the patient would experience as if the joint is on fire.
  3. PAIN STRIKES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT: Gout flare-ups at night are twice more likely at night as compared to daytime. There are a few factors associated with night time i.e. dehydration that can trigger a rapid rise in levels of uric acid in the body and urate crystals would be readily deposited in the joints.
  4. RAPID INTENSE FLARE UPS AND  GRADUAL EASING OUT: Gout comes in rapid flare-ups in which the patient would be feeling perfectly fine while going to bed and pain may worsen within a few hours waking the patient with intense pain. Then gradual slow down is seen in days.
  5. LINGERING DISCOMFORT: once the inflammation is gone the joint might be left with the discomfort that may last up to weeks. Since the flare-up is severe, the patient ends up feeling low in energy and fatigued.
  6. TOPHI: If gout is ignored for a long time then the urate crystals may get deposited under the skin to form nodules called TOPHI. TOPHI are generally painless but may start to hurt during flare-ups.
  7. KIDNEY STONES: Urate crystals may deposit in the kidneys and urinary tracts as well producing kidney stones. If you are diagnosed with uric acid kidney stones then you are more prone to develop gout also.

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