What are the Signs of Gout?

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  • Written By: Amanda Piontek
  • Edited By: Kathryn Hulick
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2018
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Gout is a form of painful arthritis that results in several telltale symptoms. One sign of gout is a sudden feeling of pain in the affected joint, which often feels warm and tender, with swelling and redness. Sometimes, the tenderness is so intense that even the lightest touch is excruciatingly painful. Gout attacks are most commonly associated with the joint of the big toe, although they can occur in any of the joints in the body. Diet, stress, and vitamin deficiencies are just a few of many different situations that can trigger the signs of gout in a person who suffers from the disease.

Gout attacks come on very rapidly, and often begin in the middle of the night. Individuals afflicted with gout commonly report being woken up by the pain of an attack. The intense pain is often made worse by the discomfort of fever and chills. Many people report that during a severe gout episode, even a slight brush with the bed sheets, or the weight of a blanket, can be unbearable.


Gouty arthritis flares are often triggered by diet. An attack of arthritis in the middle of the night, after a day of overindulging in food or alcohol, is one of the signs of gout. Rich foods, soda and alcohol can cause a rise in the uric acid levels of the bloodstream. This uric acid accumulates in the body and is then deposited into the joints, often causing a gout attack. Reducing or eliminating trigger foods can help the patient prevent the painful episodes.

The discomfort of gout is often described as fiery or hot. Swelling in the joint might be severe, causing the skin to appear tight and shiny. Discoloration of the area can range from red to purple. Since gout most commonly affects the foot, an individual experiencing the signs of gout often worries that he or she might have broken or dislocated a toe. The pain of an initial gout attack can persist for several days.

There are steps that a person can take to reduce or eliminate the signs of gout. Drinking six to eight glasses of water can help dilute and excrete the uric acid. Maintaining a healthy weight and consuming vitamin and mineral supplements can be instrumental in supporting the body and reducing the quantity of gout episodes. An individual suffering from the disorder can also speak to his or her health care provider to determine whether medication to relieve or prevent the signs of gout is an appropriate treatment.



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