What are the Indications that you have Gout?

Gout Symptoms1 e1313080521423 Gout SymptomsGout occurs more frequently in the big toe (podagra) than any other part of the body. When it does affect other parts of the body it is usually the wrists, elbows, knees and fingers that are affected.  The sudden, intense onset of pain will be the first indicator of gout. The pain is often followed by swelling, discoloration around the affected area, and extreme tenderness. The tenderness may be so extreme that even brushing lightly against it will be very painful. Sometimes a fever develops. An attack can be as brief as a few hours or can last several days. Occasionally the problem will last for weeks. Most people who develop gout will endure a number of these painful episodes during the course of their lives.

The Crystal Problem

The cause of the problem is deposits of small sacs of crystals near the joints that collect as nodes and irritate the surrounding tissue. Although nodules are typically found in gout that affects the tip of the elbows, fingers, and the big toe, they can in fact appear anywhere. In some cases nodes have been found in vocal chords and even around the spinal column. In rare and severe cases gout can masquerade as arthritis.

First Indication

A quick painful attack is the first indication that you might have gout especially if it occurs in the big toe region. The two most commonly affected areas are the knees and ankles. In most cases, gout interferes with one joint at a time while other similar diseases will attack many joints simultaneously, such as arthritis.

Joint Fluid Test

The best method for determining if a patient has gout is to take a sample of the fluid from around the joint to check for elevated levels of uric acid. This procedure is usually performed under local anaesthesia and can be done in the doctor’s office. In order to extract the fluid a needle and syringe are used. The best way to tell if uric acid crystals are present is by viewing the sample under a polarizing microscope. Rheumatologists are specialists in this area and those best qualified to examine the samples.


The doctor will sometimes ask to have x-rays taken. The purpose of the x-ray is to see if there are any crystal deposits or bone damage due to recurring attacks. It is a useful tool that is effective in monitoring the long term effects of gout.

The benefits of Testing

Sometimes the symptoms reported by the patient are enough to make a diagnosis of gout without needing further testing. Ideally, however, it is better to undergo the tests and establish with certainty that it is in fact gout as other diseases can look similar.

Quality of life

It is a painful, recurring disease that diminishes the quality of life. It can be diagnosed and treated. There are a variety of test available that will conclusively confirm its presence. The best plan is to learn as much as you can about the problem and use the resources available in your community to their fullest.

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