When the body breaks down purines, a substance found in human tissue and in many foods, uric acid forms. Uric acid dissolves in the blood and passes through the kidneys and into urine for elimination. If the kidneys do not eliminate the uric acid properly or if there is an excessive intake of high-purine foods, uric acid begins to crystallize. This crystallized uric acid settles in the kidneys and forms kidney stones or settles into joints and causes a form of arthritis called gout 2. Symptoms vary between individuals, depending on the severity of the condition. Some people with high levels of uric acid may not experience any symptoms.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
When uric acid crystals settle into joints, gouty symptoms may occur. Common joint symptoms of gout include:
- tenderness when touched
- according to FamilyDoctor.org
The joint may also feel hot. These symptoms usually begin suddenly at night.
Commonly Affected Joints
The first gout attack typically occurs in the big toe, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases 3. Additional joints in the body commonly affected by gout include:
- the ankles
With the first gout attack, it is common for a person to experience symptoms in one joint, while subsequent attacks may involve more joints.
Duration of Joint Symptoms
The intense pain in the joint usually peaks in severity within the first 12 to 24 hours following the start of the symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic's website. Once the most severe pain eases, discomfort in the joint may linger for several days to a few weeks. Attacks that occur later may cause pain to continue longer than the first gout attack. Without proper treatment or with repeated attacks, the uric acid may cause permanent damage to the joint.
After years of repeated gout attacks, uric acid crystals may begin to form lumps beneath the skin. During an attack, the tophi may become swollen and tender.
- pain in the back
- abdomen or groin
- bloody urine 2
After years of repeated gout attacks, uric acid crystals may begin to form lumps beneath the skin. Without proper treatment or with repeated attacks, the uric acid may cause permanent damage to the joint. Common joint symptoms of gout include pain, inflammation, swelling, redness and tenderness when touched, according to FamilyDoctor.org.
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