Do you have Gout?

Your toe feels as though it's on fire

Perhaps you're reading this article after a sleepless night. You woke up with your big toe on fire. The weight of your bed sheet on your hot, swollen toe was too much to bear. Unable to sleep, you folded back your sheet to find that your toe was red and tender. "What is this?" you wondered as you contemplated the latest act of nature on your hapless body. Your toe feels as though it's on fire. You give up on sleep and trying not to wake your spouse, you make your way to your home computer, hoping to Google your way to some new information.

As you boot up your PC, you grab an ice pack from the freezer, thinking that ice might help. You swallow a couple of Advils and take a seat in front of your computer. The pain is making it almost impossible for you to concentrate, but you tell Google your symptoms: *swollen* + *big toe* + *red* + *tender* and click 'I'm feeling lucky.'

"Gout? How do you like that? Hah!" you think to yourself.

The page doesn't take long to load and as you read Google's favored choice you realize that you are reading about gout! "Gout? How do you like that? Hah!" you think to yourself.

The ice and Advil are helping just a bit now, affording you the concentration you need to keep reading. You take a pad of paper and a pen and start jotting down notes, comparing what you're reading with what you see on your screen. First thing in the morning, you're going to put in a call to the doctor and tell him how you feel and what you found on the internet.

Some of the gout profile fits you and maybe some of it doesn't fit you. Here's what you've learned.

Gout tends to target men more than women but it can get anyone, irrespective of gender. Women are more prone to contract gout after going through menopause. Gout is a form of arthritis and it's a very common ailment. The pain often comes on suddenly, at night. You find yourself nodding your head as you read on.

The good news is that there's treatment! You take a deep breath and try to feel glad about that as the pain threatens to push you over the line from sane to crazy. You are relieved to see that there are ways to reduce the chances of having a recurrence.