What Are the Symptoms of Gout?

symptoms of gout

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  • There are a variety of symptoms you should watch out for when it comes to diagnosing gout. Since gout is a type of arthritis, the disease’s major points of attack are the joints in your body
  • If you or someone you know has gout symptoms, consult a doctor or health physician

There are a variety of symptoms you should watch out for when it comes to diagnosing gout. These include:

Nodules or tophi, which are huge groups of urate crystals that may be found underneath the skin or in your joints, bones and/or cartilage1

Red or purplish skin surrounding the joint2

Fever3

However, since gout is a type of arthritis, the disease’s major points of attack are the joints in your body, manifesting through these indicators:4

Intense pain and/or discomfort in the joints of the ankles, hands, wrists, knees and feet

Red, swollen, warm and tender joints

Lessened flexibility and limited movement in the joints

Joint pains are common if you have gout, and they’re called gout attacks or flare-ups. These bouts usually strike without warning, are generally acute and occur at night.5,6 When you have a gout attack, the skin over the joint may turn sensitive and inflamed, and can get painful to the point that even the slightest pressure on the joint can put you in agony.7 Hence, gout attacks or flare-ups should not be taken lightly.

Are There Complications Linked to Gout?

While a typical gout patient may experience one to two gout flare-ups annually (or even in his or her lifetime),8 the possibility of more attacks rises if this illness is not addressed. There’s also the possibility of having longer and more severe gout flare-ups that may result in serious damage to your joints and the surrounding areas.

If you or someone you know has gout symptoms, consult a doctor or health physician. Your physician can refer you to a rheumatologist (a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis) after an initial examination.9

The American College of Rheumatology highlights that treatment of gout may be challenging as the disease may coincide alongside other conditions, and some conventional medicines for it may put people at risk for side effects too. Ideally, consider having a thorough discussion with your rheumatologist.

The presence of other illnesses and medications can make the treatment of gout quite difficult. It is the job of the rheumatologist to inform you if you require medications (especially if natural options do not yield positive effects) or not, and/or check if gout is responsible for extensive joint pain and not another similar illness as well.10

Tests Used to Check Gout

Different tests can be done on someone experiencing gout symptoms, with a diagnosis being determined once uric acid crystals are found. These include:11,12

Joint fluid test — Using a needle, fluid is extracted from an affected joint, and a medical professional analyzes the sample under a microscope to look for urate crystals.

Blood test — This inspects the levels of uric acid and creatinine, which is a type of chemical waste molecule derived from muscle metabolism.13 A caveat about taking a blood test to diagnose gout is the risk for misleading results. As the Mayo Clinic highlights, there may be instances wherein high uric acid levels may be detected in some people, but they do not have gout, while others exhibit gout indicators but do not have high blood uric acid levels.14

Imaging techniques such as X-rays, ultrasounds and dual energy computed tomography (duel energy CT) — An X-ray can display joint damage that may have occurred because of prolonged gout15 while an ultrasound or dual energy CT scan can search for urate crystals in a joint, or tophus (uric acid crystals that may appear in soft tissues of your body).16

These methods may help check for gout, but take note that some of these may have downsides as well. Consult your rheumatologist first before undergoing any of these tests.

MORE ABOUT GOUT

Gout: Introduction

What Is Gout?

Gout Causes

Gout Types

Gout Symptoms

Gout Treatment

Gout Prevention

Gout Diet

Gout FAQ

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