Hello Diana, my problem is Gout which is very painful indeed. It comes and goes without warning and distresses me. Why do I get Gout, I thought it was a man thing, and what can I do to relieve the pain? ….. Mary O’Donnell Belfast

Mary, gout is a form of arthritis in which small uric acid crystals form inside and around the joints, caused by excess uric acid in the bloodstream. It causes sudden attacks of severe pain and swelling often without warning in the middle of the night, most commonly affecting the big toe. Painful and debilitating it mainly affects men over 30, but women after the menopause. It usually occurs in the toes, ankles, knees and fingers, with swelling in and around the affected joint, which feels hot, very tender and looks shiny and red.