Gout: Causes, Symptoms, Types and Risk factors

Gout is also known as gout arthritis, it is a common type of arthritis that causes severe pain, swelling, redness, tenderness and stiffness in a joint. It generally affects the joint in the big toe. Pain and inflammation occurs when too much uric acid crystallize and deposited in joints.

It is the most common inflammatory arthritis in men, and women become more susceptible to it after the menopause.

Gout attacks can come on quickly and stay for long time, the inflammation region tissues are slowly harmed, and can be extremely painful. 


Gout is caused by a condition called hyperuricemia, where there is an excess of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is formed when the breakdown of purines occurs in the body, purines are the chemical compounds that are found in high amounts in foods such as meat, poultry, and seafood.

In fact, uric acid is dissolved in the blood and is excreted through urine by the kidneys. If there is too much uric acid accumulation, or not excreted properly, it can build up and form needle like crystals that causes pain and inflammation in the joints and surrounding tissue.

If you had gout, you will experience severe pain and feel swelling in the foot joints, especially for toe joint. This type of sudden intense pain feel you like your toe is on fire.


  • Lingering discomfort
  • Intense joint pain
  • Inflammation and redness
  • Unable too move
  • Tophi
  • Flu-like symptoms

Gout usually suddenly shows the symptoms without any sign, occurs often in the midnight.

The main symptoms are intense joint pain that gives you discomfort, inflammation, and redness. Gout mostly affects the large joint of the big toe, but it can also affect the forefoot, ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, and fingers.

Due to this severe pain and inflammation , the persons movement range get limited. They can move or walk like before.

Risk Factors

Gout also effect many parts of the body and cause many health related diseases like hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and obesity.

Genetic factors: If your family history includes gout, then you are more likely to develop this condition.

Age and Gender: Gout occurs more often in men, as uric acid produced much in men primarily when compared, women tends to have lower uric acid levels. However after menopause, women’s uric acid levels approach those equal to men.

  • Men develop gout earlier- between the ages of 30 and 50
  • women – after menopause.

Obesity: If you are overweight, it increases the risk of gout, because there is more production of uric acid as a metabolic waste product, so that it become difficult to eliminate for kidneys. High body fat also increase levels of inflammation as fat cells produce pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Medications: Some medications can also increase the levels of uric acid in the body such as diuretics like thiazide and drugs containing salicylate, low dose of aspirin.

Other Health Problems: Some other kidney problems can reduce the body’s ability to remove waste products, which leads to increased levels of uric acid.

Recent Surgery or Trauma: If had any recent surgery or trauma has been linked with an increased risk of developing a gout attack.

Diet:  Eating more meat and seafood and drinking beverages sweetened with fructose sugar increase levels of uric acid, which increase your risk of gout. Alcohol consumption, especially of beer, also increases the risk of gout.


There are various types that progresses gout as follows:

Asymptomatic hyperuricemia

In this type of gout, uric acid levels elevate without any symptoms. Treatment is not required at this stage, but urate crystals may deposit in tissue and cause slight damage.

Acute gout

This stage occurs when the urate crystals that have been deposited suddenly. It cause acute inflammation and intense pain. Flares can sometimes be caused by stress, alcohol, drugs, and in cold weather.

Interval gout

This stage is the period in between attacks of acute gout. If not treated for long time, a sudden outburst may occur. During this period, more urate crystals are being deposited in tissue.

Chronic tophaceous gout

Chronic tophaceous gout is the most exhausting type of gout. Due to this, damage may have occur permanently in the joints and the kidneys. The patient can also experience from chronic arthritis and develop tophi, big lumps of urate crystals in toe. Without any treatment it takes about 10 years to reach the stage of chronic tophaceous gout.


One condition that is easily confused with gout is pseudogout. The symptoms are very similar to those of gout, usually less severe.


Gout is a form of arthritis caused by excess uric acid in the bloodstream. The symptoms of gout are seen due to the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints. It mostly attacks big toe of leg. It suddenly fires at midnight without any warning. It can be prevented by proper diet and treated with special medications.