Gout is a disease that has been documented since antiquity. As such, much is known about it and much misinformation surrounds it. Gout is a disease that manifests itself in recurring acute attacks of inflammatory arthritis. Gout usually affects the big toe and surrounding soft tissue, but can affect other joints in the extremities, such as feet and hands and more rarely in other joints on the body. It manifests itself visibly by a red and warm area surrounding the joint.

factsThough Gout was historically known as the rich man’s disease, this is not altogether accurate, as the disease will most likely affect up to 2% of the population at some point during their life. Gout is directly correlated to the amount of uric acid salts that build-up in the body. Most cases are caused by the under-excretion of these salts which then develop crystal like deposits in the victim’s joints.

An acute attack of inflammatory arthritis usually occurs late at night, having an onset of period of a few hours but lasting several days. They have been described as exceptionally painful and debilitating.

Though gout can affect anyone, it is very rare in men until after adolescence and in women before menopause. Though gout is generally related to lifestyle, hereditary factors play a part as well. Changes in diet and exercise can greatly reduce the frequency of gout attacks, and can keep the condition under control.

Medication exists for those experiencing gout symptoms, including steroidal creams for swelling and tender joint areas. Pain medication such as ibuprofen can be effective for reducing the effects of a gout attack, and have fewer side effects than those associated with other gout medication. Certain medication should be avoided to treat gout as they may have unintended and dangerous side effects. Always consult your physician before medicating for gout.