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Gout: clinical features and diagnosis

By Mary Duffy, MPharm, and Stephen Hughes, MPharm

Illustration depicting the pain of gout (New York Public Library  Science Photo Library)

During an attack of gout, a person will experience excruciating pain, redness and swelling in one or more peripheral joints. The condition is caused by deposition of urate crystals in the affected joints

Summary

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis caused by the deposition of urate crystals into the affected joints. The main risk factor for gout is hyperuricaemia, which can be brought about by overproduction or underexcretion of uric acid. 


Gout can be classified into four phases: asymptomatic hyperuricaemia; acute attacks (characterised by the classic symptoms of gout — pain, swelling and erythema of the affected area); interval gout (the symptom-free period between episodes); and chronic tophaceous gout (in which tophi develop in the joints that are affected by repeated, acute episodes). 

Mary Duffy is specialist medical pharmacist and Stephen Hughes is renal pharmacist, both at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

E: mary.duffy@cmft.nhs.uk

 

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist URI: 11096161

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