Have you ever experienced excruciating pain in your foot that you can barely walk? Did you notice a swollen area around your ankle? You might be experiencing a case of gout. And gout is not a condition that has just been recently discovered. Gout cases were discovered and identified as early as 2,640 BC. Even in our modern day, it continues to be a major problem.
Explaining the Cause of Gout
A gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis. Stiffness, swelling and intense pain in a joint, particularly in the big toe are some of the common symptoms.
Uric acid, a by-product of the body during metabolism, is produced when purines are broken down. Purines are chemical compounds commonly found in meat, seafood, and poultry. The by-product is normally dissolved in the blood then later removed by the kidneys through urination.
Excess uric acid is deposited in body fluids and tissues as needle-like crystals. The body considers it a foreign object and prompts the white blood cells to infiltrate the joint. This causes inflammation. The chalky deposits of uric acid called ‘tophi’ then form lumps under the skin that surrounds the affected joints.
Factors that Induce Gout
There are a number of factors that can increase the risks for developing gout. It includes age and gender. It is more common among men, but women are prone to gout after menopause. Genetics or family background is another factor.
Alcohol consumption and high-purine diet is another factor. Purine increases uric acid levels while alcohol can prevent the removal of uric acid from the body. Overweight individuals or people with high levels of body fat have an increased risk of developing the condition.
There are also drugs that can increase uric acid levels including those that contain salicylate and some diuretics. Surgery or recent trauma increase risk chances too. Kidney-related conditions, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, and diabetes can also cause gout.
These are only a few of the factors you need to consider to determine if you are prone to develop gout. Some factors may be unavoidable. But it is possible for you to prevent the condition if you are aware of the symptoms and the methods of determining if you have it.
Common Symptoms and Diagnosis
Gout can occur without warnings and is most likely to occur at night. Symptoms may include discomfort, inflammation, and redness around the affected area. It can occur in the big toes, ankles, elbows, fingers, knees and wrists.
But it is not advisable to label the problem as gout since diagnosing the condition can be quite tricky. It is because the symptoms can be similar to other conditions. Hyperuricemia or high uric levels can occur among people with gout; however, it may not always occur during a flare. Moreover, people with high uric levels do not always develop it. This is where necessary tests come into the picture.
Doctors usually carry out joint fluid tests where they extract fluid from the affected joint. They may also conduct tests for bacteria that may cause the problem. Blood tests can check uric acid levels in the blood. These tests help determine the right treatment for your gout problem.
Proper Treatment and Prevention
It is best to consult an expert first before buying over-the-counter medications. Doctors may prescribe nonsteroidal inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. They may also prescribe corticosteroids or colchicine to reduce the inflammation and pain. Some medications may also be prescribed to reduce uric acid production and improve kidney abilities to excrete uric acid.
But then again, prevention is always better than cure. It is possible to stay away from costly medical bills and prescriptions. Always make sure to eat a healthy diet. Drink lots of water to flush out toxins. Do exercises like jogging to help boost uric acid removal. You need to limit consumption of foods such as meat, fish, and poultry. It is also a wise move to maintain a healthy body weight. Tick off alcoholic beverages from your grocery list next time you go shopping. Remember that gout can lead to kidney stones and other problems. You need to take steps to avoid gout.
Gout attacks are recurring and may happen at inconvenient times. It occurs mostly at night. Get help from a professional. Always follow the doctor’s advice. The right guidance from doctors can go a long way. Foot support and massagers help relieve gout pains. Be sure to look into the right products for your needs. It pays to seek help from people who knows your condition. You can conquer gout!