Written by Dr. Aline Abi Khalil, Pediatric Gastroenterologist
Gout attacks are sudden episodes of severe joint pain, usually starting at night, often in the big toe, with redness, swelling, and tenderness of the joint.
Gout usually develops in adulthood and is rare in children.
Several medical conditions and lifestyle choices increase your risk of developing gout, including obesity, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, fasting, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol (particularly beer, whiskey, gin, vodka, or rum) or meat, seafood, or beverages containing high fructose corn syrup (such as non-diet sodas) as well as taking medications that affect blood levels of urate (especially diuretics: water pills).
You should seek medical advice as soon as possible, preferably within several hours of pain or swelling onset. More rapid and complete resolution of symptoms occurs the earlier that treatment is introduced. Without treatment, pain can last for days or even weeks and over time, your joints will be affected. You may also get kidney disease or kidney stones.
Changing your diet may reduce the frequency of gout attacks. Because obesity is a risk factor for gout, losing weight is important. You are encouraged to have a low fat, low salt diet with plenty of water.