Sometimes, uric crystals can stay in the joint or the cartilage for years without causing any discomfort. However, once these crystals make their way into the synovium (the tissue that lines joints), it can cause extreme pain or severe inflammation.
It’s important to note that the body naturally produces urate, which is not an immediate cause for alarm. Sometimes, a person with hyperuricemia won’t show any gout symptoms and not need treatment.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptom of a gout flare is the sudden pain in the joints, usually in the big toe. During an onset of a gout flare, the affected joint may appear red and/or swollen, and may feel hot. Gout flares can also come with extreme tenderness of the affected joint, to the point that even the slightest touch feels uncomfortable.
Other symptoms of a gout flare include discomfort after the pain subsides (usually after the first 12 hours) and not being able to move your joints as much (limited range of motion). Gout can occur in other joints like the fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles.
What are the risk factors of gout?
Men are generally more prone to developing gout. Women who are in menopause are also more at risk of gout. The following risk factors may also increase your chances of hyperuricemia and gout:
Consuming alcoholic and/or sugary drinks. Things like beer, fortified wines, and spirits can cause a spike in uric acid. Sodas and other sugary drinks can also raise a person’s levels of uric acid.
Eating food rich in purine. Some seafood such as anchovies, sardines, mussels, and scallops are food high in purine which should not be eaten in excess. Meat like bacon and liver are also foods that can increase a person’s levels of uric acid.