The condition is fairly common, affecting approximately 1-2 people in every 100 in the UK. Gout tends to affect men over the age of 30 and postmenopausal women. Overall, the condition is more prevalent in men.
The small crystals that cause gout are produced when a waste product called uric acid starts to build-up in the body. Uric acid is formed when the body breaks down chemicals called purines. If the body begins producing too much uric acid, the excess will build-up, eventually turning into microscopic crystals. These crystals tend to form in and around the body’s joints, which is thought to be due to the slightly lower body temperature found in those areas.
If the crystals work their way into the spaces between the joints, this can cause the severe pain, swelling and inflammation associated with gout. The pain associated with gout can be both severe and debilitating. However, there are available treatments that will help relieve the symptoms and help prevent future bouts.