Gout is a joint disease that occurs due to high levels of uric acid in the blood. If during normal conditions, uric acid dissolves in the blood, it should be excreted when you urinate. However, under certain conditions, the body can produce excessive amounts of uric acid so that it can interfere with removing the excess uric acid, as a result, uric acid accumulates in the body.
When uric acid buildup to form crystals occurs in joints, it can cause pain followed by swelling in the joints of the body. Although uric acid crystals generally form in the joints, it does not rule out the possibility of forming in the kidneys and urinary tract, which of course will interfere with kidney function and will cause urinary tract stones.
Generally, gout attacks appear suddenly and occur usually at night. The duration of these attacks varies, can last a few days or several weeks. Then it will subside in some time but will return when the uric acid level in the blood is not controlled.
Please note, even if a person has high uric acid levels, it is not necessarily possible to see symptoms. When the patient’s condition becomes chronic, gout attacks will begin to be felt or seen.
Now we will discuss what are the common symptoms of gout.
The joint in the big toe that usually feels the first symptom of gout. However, other joints can also be affected, such as the fingers, elbows, knees, ankles, and wrists. When exposed to gout, what are the characteristics you need to know,
- Painful joint pain
The characteristics that usually occur in gout attacks are joint pain. Usually, it will first be felt in the big toe, although it does not rule out the possibility of arising in other joints. The buildup of gout crystals will cause excruciating pain in the joint in the first 36 hours and can spread to other joints. This pain will heal after 7-10 days.
- Joints Feel Soft and Swollen
The joint will be swollen and tender when pressed. The swelling is caused by inflammation that occurs in the joint due to the small, hard, sharp crystals. This is due to the friction that occurs between the joints and the soft lining around the joints or often called the synovium.
We recommend that when swelling occurs, do not wear tight pants or socks, as this will increase the pressure and pain.
- The appearance of red color on the skin joints
There will be redness in the area of the joint that is sore, another feature of gout. This happens because the blood flow to the area of the body affected by gout will increase or this is called vasodilation.
- Hot or Warm at the Joints
Joints feel warm or hot when exposed to gout attacks. This is due to an inflammatory process or often called inflammation that will trigger the immune system to release substances called cytokines. These released cytokines will trigger inflammation that causes a warm feeling of heat, swelling of the joints, and redness of the skin affected by gout.
- Rigid in joints
The joint will be difficult to move. The joints that are affected by gout are painful and swollen, so moving them causes stiffness and pain. These signs appear in chronic gout attacks.
- Discomfort is quite long
When a gout attack comes, the severe pain usually resolves in 1-2 days. However, the discomfort can last for a while, i.e. a few days or a few weeks, and eventually go away, depending on the level of pain.
- Extreme tenderness
The next characteristic of gout attacks is a tenderness which is a distinct characteristic of pain. The tenderness has more influence on the joints on the outside. For example, it is difficult to rest or move the knee without pain.
- Chronic pain
This pain cannot be taken lightly, because if joint pain occurs for a long time, the joint will suffer severe damage and affect the quality of life, because it cannot move freely.
- Dry and peeling skin
The skin around the inflammation will become dry and will peel off. This can happen for days.
- The formation of Tophi
Tophi are crystalline deposits that sit under the skin and form a lump and hard. Tophi usually appears on the toe joints, back heel of the foot, knee joints, finger joints, wrist joints, elbows and ears. Tophi can cause joints to become permanently deformed.
- Strike Suddenly At Night
Another common feature of gout is its sudden onset without signs. Usually occurs at night.
- Systemic Symptoms
Nausea and lack of appetite can be symptoms of a gout attack. These symptoms can occur during the attack until they heal.
Gout Symptoms Stages
The symptoms of gout will differ depending on the severity of each person. Here are some symptoms that can arise from the stages:
• The first stage
The first stage is when uric acid has high enough levels and in the joints, uric crystals have formed. However, the features or signs of gout are not felt and seen. Crystallized uric acid can cause joint inflammation later. However, some people may also not experience gout even though they already have high enough uric acid levels.
• Second stage (acute)
The second stage when there has been crystallization to form inflammation that will cause symptoms. Gout attacks can come on suddenly, usually at night. The attacks can include swelling in the joints, pain, redness, and joints that feel hot.
• The third stage (Intercritical)
The third stage is like camouflage because in this stage the sufferer feels no symptoms and is completely sick, as if he has recovered. However, you must be careful because the attacks could happen again at another time, especially if you do not check uric acid levels periodically. Long-term medication and controlling the normalcy of uric acid are things that must be done to avoid other attacks.
• The fourth stage (chronic)
The fourth stage is the chronic stage. Symptoms of swelling, pain, redness, and hot joints. Tophi can only appear at this stage. Watch for progressive and permanent joint damage. The patient should seek treatment.