Each year during the Christmas period we tend to indulge ourselves on rich food more than ever. It’s well deserved after a long year and on a cold winter’s day, there's nothing better than tucking into a full turkey and ham dinner with all the trimmings! What better to round it out than sumptuous dessert, a sherry trifle with cream perhaps? A glass of brandy comes your way, sure why not? An After Eight Mint or two is never refused.  

Several hours later you awaken in the middle of the night with an excruciating stabbing pain in your big toe. The joint at the base of the toe is red, swollen and throbbing. Chances are, you are experiencing a gout attack.

What Pulled the Trigger?

Gout is an arthritic condition that occurs when crystallized uric acid builds up in a joint. Uric acid is a by-product of the breakdown of purines-chemicals that are naturally occurring in your body and in certain foods. Some people may overproduce or have difficulty eliminating uric acid from the body. It can build up and cause pain in any joint, but the big toe is the most common site.  

If you are prone to gout, purine-rich foods, such as red meat, shellfish, organ meats, red wine, brandy, and rich sauces, may cause an attack. There are other potential factors that may increase your risk for this condition as well, including:

  • Diabetes

  • High blood pressure

  • Obesity

  • Stress

  • Chemotherapy

  • Certain medications and vitamins

For many patients, the predisposition for gout is hereditary. Sadly, there is nothing you can do about who your ancestors are!

Fending Off an Attack

Give us a call if you are experiencing the symptoms described above. We’ll examine and treat your condition. Gout symptoms will usually stop within three to ten days with treatment. If this is a recurring problem, we will help find your triggers and tell you how to avoid them.

Gout in a bit more detail

See a GP if you have:

  • sudden severe pain in a joint – usually your big toe, but it can be in other joints in your feet, hands, wrists, elbows or knees
  • hot, swollen, red skin over the affected joint
  • These are symptoms of gout.
  • An attack of gout usually lasts 5 to 7 days, then gets better. It may not cause lasting damage to joints if you get treatment at once.

Gout sometimes runs in families. 

It's more common in men, especially as they get older.

You might have a higher chance of getting gout if you:

  • are overweight

  • drink alcohol

  • have been through the menopause

  • take medicines such as diuretics (water tablets), or medicines for high blood pressure (such as ACE inhibitors)

  • have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, kidney problems, osteoarthritis or diabetes

  • have had surgery or an injury