If you have gout, you’ll know it.
Shannon Youn, a chiropodist at Feet First Clinic in Toronto, tells Global News gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that is caused by hyperuricemia — high levels of uric acid in the blood.
“Chronically-elevated levels of uric acid can lead to the formation of crystals which deposit into a joint, resulting in the joint becoming red, hot, swollen, and painful,” she said.
“Hyperuricemia can develop if your body either produces too much uric acid or does not excrete enough through the kidneys.”
Assia Abibsi, a doctor of podiatric medicine and chiropodist at the Ottawa Foot Clinic, adds uric acid is a compound that appears in our bodies after eating certain foods. These can include red meat, seafood and the consumption of alcohol.
“Like any chemistry concept, if there is too much of something in a given quantity of liquid, it becomes too concentrated,” Abibsi said.
Gout has been seen as a “man’s disease” or one that only affects people who drink too much alcohol or consume too much meat. But it is also on the rise, experts add.
Dr. Debra Dye-Torrington, who works in the rheumatology department at Scarborough Health Network in Scarborough, Ont., added this reflects changes in demographic factors.
“These changes affect both modifiable and non-modifiable factors,” she said.
“Examples of modifiable rise factors are obesity, alcohol consumption and diet. Examples of non-modifiable factors are increasing longevity and age-associated diseases.”
What are the common signs
Abibsi says gout “hurts like hell,” and your joints, often in the foot or big toe, will become swollen in a matter of days.
Dye-Torrington says another sign of gout can be a low-grade fever.
“In more severe cases, gout could affect more than one joint.”
Youn says symptoms can last for about a week and besides the toe, gout can also happen in the knee, ankle, mid-foot, wrist and elbow.