Gout generally occurs in 'attacks' where a joint suddenly becomes red and painful. With appropriate management things settle down, but after a dietary discretion another flare up may happen. Eventually the joint may become permanently damaged.
The base of the big toe is the classical site for symptoms to occur, but the knee is another joint in which gout can suddenly flare up, with the knee becoming red, swollen and very painful.
Gout is a metabolic disease, a disorder of body chemistry where food substances called 'purines' are not broken down properly, and uric acid builds up in the blood stream and uric acid crystals are deposited within the joints, causing severe irritation of the joint lining.
Acute episodes are treated with anti-inflammatory drugs. Specific drugs used in gout include colchicine, probenecid and allopurinol. Purine rich foods are best avoided or reduced in the diet.
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