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Counties Manukau Health Rheumatology

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Gout is one of the most common forms of arthritis (joint inflammation). It appears as an acute attack often coming on overnight. Within 12-24 hours there is severe pain and swelling in the affected joint. The skin over the joint may be red and shiny. 

Gout usually affects only one or two joints at a time - most often the feet and ankles. The ball of the big toe is the commonest site. Without treatment the attack subsides in a week or so and when patients first develop gout there may be intervals of many months or even years between attacks. As time goes by, these tend to become more frequent and more severe and eventually many joints may be involved, sometimes all at the same time. At this stage a state of chronic or continuous joint disease may develop with progressive joint damage, disability and crippling (chronic gout). Gout affects mostly men and is very rare in women until after the menopause when it is quite often seen. Gout is very common in New Zealand and it is particularly common in Maori and Pacific peoples.

Three Key Messages for Gout:

1. Gout is not only a pain in your toe; it is a WAKE UP call to take care of your heart, health and well being.

2. Gout is not cured, even when the pain goes away, but lifestyle changes and medication such as allopurinol can stop gout's bad effects by hitting the target - uric acid less than 0.36.

3. Your genes play an important part in gout, it is not just your kai.

For more information about gout from the Department of Rheumatology at Middlemore Hospital, please click on the following links:

Click here to view Gout booklets available in English, Te Reo Maori, Niuean, Samoan and Tongan.

Useful links

Health Navigator
Health Navigator has extensive information about Gout including - a description, overview, symptoms, tests & diagnosis, treatments, medications, education, support and clinical resources.

This page was last updated at 12:08PM on August 11, 2020.