Gout (mate waikawa kai kōiwi) is a common and painful form of arthritis. It causes severe joint pain and swelling, especially in your toes, knees, elbows, wrists and fingers. If left untreated, gout can cause serious damage to your joints, kidneys and quality of life.
Gout is a form of arthritis, which causes severe joint pain and swelling.
Gout is one of the most commonly misunderstood and poorly managed long-term conditions in our communities. Poorly managed gout can lead to permanent disability, cardiovascular complications and diabetes.
If you or a family member suffers from gout, feel free to come and see one of our pharmacists to discuss the condition and ensure you are receiving the best care and advice possible.
What causes gout?
Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid in your body
- Uric acid mostly (two-thirds) comes from the breakdown of cells in your body. The remainder (one-third) comes from chemicals called purines that are in your food.
- Normally, your kidneys filter uric acid from your blood and flush it out of your body in urine (pee).
- When uric acid levels in your blood are high, uric acid crystals form in your joints. These crystals cause pain, inflammation and lumps (called tophi).
What causes high uric acid?
- The most common cause of high uric acid is due to your body not getting rid of it properly.
- 90% of this is due to your genes. Other factors can include certain medications and other health conditions.
How is gout diagnosed?
Your doctor can diagnose gout based on your symptoms, blood tests showing high levels of uric acid and urate crystals in joint fluid (from a sample taken through a small needle put into your joint).
In the early stages of gout, x-rays are not usually helpful in diagnosis, but in advanced gout x-rays can show any damage to your cartilage and bones.