A type of arthritis, that happens due to an increase in uric acid in the body. It often forms sharp crystals in any of the joints, mostly in big toe.

The prevalence of gout is low in developing countries, such as Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, which is under 0.5%.

If untreated, gout may extend to the knee, ankle, foot, hand, wrist, or elbow.

What are the symptoms of Gout?

Common symptoms of gout are:

  • Intense joint pain that is sudden and occurs within the first four to 12 hours initiation
  • Tenderness – the joint can also be warm to the touch and look red or purple
  • Lingering discomfort that lasts from a few days to a few weeks.
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling

If untreated for a long time, the crystals may form lumps under the skin around your joint (tophi). They may also affect the range of motion and a person may not be able to move joints normally.

What are the causes and risk factors of Gout?

Gout occurs when uric acid crystals collect in the joint, causing redness and intense pain. The body produces uric acid after breaking down purines — substances that are found naturally in your body and also found in certain foods including red meat and some sea food such as sardines, trout and tuna. Beer and drinks with high sugar also increases uric acid.

How is Gout diagnosed?

Following tests help to diagnose gout and these include:

  • Joint fluid test: Fluid is drawn from the affected joint and urate crystals may be visible when the fluid is examined under a microscope.
  • Blood test: Blood test is used to measure the levels of uric acid in blood. Test results are not conclusive with some people having high uric acid levels never experiencing gout.
  • X-ray imaging
  • Ultrasound: Sound waves are used to detect urate crystals in joints or in tophi.
  • Dual-energy computerized tomography (DECT): This test combines X-ray images taken from many different angles to visualize urate crystals in joints.

What are the treatment options of Gout?

Medications are available for gout and focus on two different problems. The first type reduces pain and inflammation, and the second type reduces the amount of uric acid in blood.

Ways to prevent gout attack?

  • Exercising and eating a balanced diet to control weight.
  • Drinking more water aids in preventing uric acid stones.
  • Avoiding sugary drinks.
  • Avoiding alcohol.
  • Eating less meat and seafood and including low-fat dairy products (yogurt, cheese, milk) in diet for sources of protein.
  • Taking medicines to lower uric acid levels.


  1. Song J, Jin C, Shan Z, Teng W, Li J. Prevalence and Risk Factors of Hyperuricemia and Gout: A Cross-sectional Survey from 31 Provinces in Mainland China. J Transl Int Med. 2022 Jul 7;10(2):134-145.
  2. Gout. WebMD. March 2024.
  3. Gout. Mayo Clinic. March 2024.

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