Gout: Get the facts

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Gout Symptoms in Big Toe

Gout Signs & Symptoms

Gout flares usually strike suddenly, at night, and without any warning. During the attack, the affected area becomes hot, red, swollen, and extremely tender. Having gout may sometimes feel like your toe is a volcano erupting into a hot, fiery flare.

Gout may be best known for causing severe pain in the toe. While most gout attacks do occur in the big toe, they can occur in other parts of the body as well. One survey of people with gout showed the percentages of where gout attacks occurred in the body:

  • Big toe (76%)
  • Ankle or foot (50%)
  • Knee (32%)
  • Finger (25%)
  • Elbow (10%)
  • More than one site (11%)
  • Wrist (10%)

Gout Between Flares

If you have gout, you may be surprised to learn that it can attack silently, even between flares. You may not feel it, but gout's root cause—high uric acid—can allow crystals to continuously form and build up in your joints. Over time, this may lead to attacks in other joints, constant pain, and joint destruction. So don't wait. Talk with your doctor about ways to keep your uric acid at a lower, healthy level. To make the most of your discussion with your doctor, download the Gout Conversation Card.

Who Gets Gout?

Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid in your blood. As your uric acid level rises, so does the potential for gout and gout flares. You should also be aware of certain characteristics that can affect your likelihood of experiencing gout:

  • Men, especially between the ages of 40 and 50, are more likely to develop gout than women.
  • Most women experience gout after menopause.
  • There may be a genetic link: many people with gout have a family history of the disease.
  • Gout rarely affects children or young adults.
  • People with certain conditions are at a higher risk for gout: These conditions include diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and/or kidney problems.
Next: Gout Progression

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