Gout is a chronic disease – and the most common type of inflammatory arthritis in men. While men are more likely to get gout overall, women get gout, too, but are most at risk after menopause. Gout is a painful disease that can interfere with everyday activities, including work and family events.
While gout typically affects the large joint of the big toe (called podagra), it can occur in many different joints, including the feet, ankles, knees, hands, wrists and elbows, and sometimes soft tissue and tendons. Attacks, which are also known as "flares," can be mild or severe, usually last from three to 14 days, and can cause sudden, severe episodes of pain, tenderness, redness, warmth and swelling. Some people may have one gout attack, but in most people, the disease progresses.
As gout progresses, these attacks become more frequent, and people may develop urate crystal deposits, called tophi, in their soft tissue and joints. This can lead to soft tissue damage, joint deformity and even destruction.
There is no cure for gout. But an effective management plan – including medication and lifestyle strategies, such as diet changes and weight loss – may help keep the condition under control and allow you to keep enjoying the activities that mean so much to you. It's important to talk with your doctor about developing a management plan to reduce your risk of gout attacks.
For more information on gout, click here.