Frequently asked questions

What is gout?
Gout causes sudden attacks of pain in some joints. It is a type of arthritis.

Gout can affect any joint but the first attack usually affects the big toe or another part of the foot. The joint becomes painful and swollen. The skin over the joint can become red and shiny.

A gout attack usually lasts 7–10 days if it is not treated.

Why do I get gout?
Gout is caused by having too much of a chemical called uric acid in your blood.

Your body makes uric acid when you eat food. It is normal and healthy to have some uric acid in your body. Most people get rid of uric acid through their urine.

Having too much uric acid is mostly because of your genes (it runs in families). However your body can make too much uric acid if you eat food such as meat, seafood, beer, sugary drinks and orange juice.

How does gout affect you?
Gout can be very painful and can stop you doing all the things you enjoy. Gout can stop you playing sport and enjoying time with your family or whanau.

Gout can stop you feeling good about yourself and your life.

Gout can cause joint deformities if it is not managed.

Gout can be a sign you could get diabetes, heart disease and kidney problems.

What causes your gout attacks?
What causes gout attacks?

Image supplied by PHARMAC

If there is too much uric acid in your blood, the acid turns into crystals in your joins especially your toes, knees, elbows, wrists and fingers.

The crystals are very sharp, like needles, and your joint gets very sore and painful. This is called a gout attack.

Crystals can cause damage to your joints.

The crystals cause lumps which are called tophi (you say toe-fy). If tophi get too big they can make it hard for you to wear shoes, use a knife and fork, write and walk easily.

Get your uric acid levels down below 0.36!

If there is too much uric acid in your blood, the acid can turn into crystals in your joints especially your toes, knees, elbows, wrists and fingers.