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Overview on Gout

What is gout?

Gout is a condition that results in crystallization of a salt uric acid (sodium-urate) in tissues, most often in the joints.

Gout can be a common, complex form of arthritis that can impact anyone. Gout is characterized by severe, sudden pain, swelling, redness, tenderness, and redness in one or more of the joints, usually in the big toe.

Gout attacks can strike suddenly, and you may wake up feeling like your big toes are on fire. Gout can be severe when the affected joint becomes so hot and tender that it is difficult to bear even a sheet of bedsheet.

Although gout symptoms can be temporary, there are ways to manage them and prevent flare-ups.

Gout is a condition that can be traced back to your family history. Gout is more common in families with gouty relatives.

Causes

Gout is caused by urate crystals building up in joints. This causes inflammation and severe pain. If you have high levels uric acid, urate crystals may form. Uric acid is produced by the body when it breaks down purines. These are substances found naturally in the body.

Certain foods also contain purines, such as red meat and organ meats like liver. Anchovies and mussels are good sources of purines. Higher levels of uric acids are promoted by alcohol, particularly beer and sweetened drinks with fruit sugar (fructose).

Uric acid is normally dissolved in blood and passed through the kidneys to the urine. Sometimes, the body produces too much or the kidneys produce too little uric acid. This is when uric acid forms sharp, needle-shaped crystals in joints or surrounding tissues, which can cause pain, inflammation, and swelling.

Diagnosis

Confirming the presence of crystals in the tissues is a good way to diagnose gout.

Reduced elimination of uric acids by the kidneys and intestine is almost always the cause of hyperuricaemia. This can be caused by genetic predispositions, hormonal factors, disease, medications, and unhealthy diets.

Urate crystals can trigger an inflammatory response, which can cause sudden symptoms (gout attack), of severe pain and swelling.

Gout attacks can affect the joints but also the tendons and bursae around them. These symptoms are an indication that urate crystals may be present in the tissues. You should seek medical attention.

Gout Diet

Gout management requires a healthy diet.

Treatment

The treatment involves lowering blood uric acids levels so that urate crystals are permanently dissolved. This requires a sustained optimal level of uric acid. While it is beneficial for patients to prevent and treat pain, it does not address the underlying cause of gout.

Gout can be treated by maintaining a healthy blood uric acid. This will gradually dissolve the crystals and make the symptoms go away.

Patients and healthcare professionals need to understand the importance of early diagnosis and treatment for gout.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies

Gout medication is the best way to manage your symptoms and prevent recurrence. Lifestyle choices are important as well.

24go platform offers a great list of effective home remedies: Gout Home Remedies.

Choose healthier drinks. Avoid alcoholic beverages, as well as sweetened drinks with fruit sugar (fructose). Drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages instead, particularly water.

Avoid purines-rich foods. Purines are particularly abundant in red meats and offal (such as liver). Anchovies and other shellfish rich in purines include anchovies and sardines as well as mussels, scallops and scallops. People with gout may find low-fat dairy products a better source for protein.

Regular exercise is a good way to lose weight. Gout risk is reduced by maintaining a healthy weight. Walking, cycling, and swimming are all low-impact activities that are gentler on the joints.

Signs

Gout symptoms and signs almost always appear suddenly, often in the middle of the night. These symptoms include:

Severe joint pain

Gout typically affects the bigtoe but can also occur in other joints. Gout can also affect the ankles as well as the knees, elbows and wrists. It is most likely that the pain will be severe within four to twelve hours of it starting.

Persistent discomfort

Some joint discomfort can persist after the worst pain has subsided. This may last for several days or even weeks. Later attacks will likely last longer and impact more joints.

Redness and swelling

Swollen, tender, warm, and reddened joints are common.

Limitation of range of motion Gout can cause joint pain and make it difficult to move normally.

When should you see a doctor?

If you feel sudden and severe pain in your joint, consult your doctor immediately. Gout can worsen your pain and cause joint damage if it is not treated. If you feel ill, or if your symptoms are severe, seek medical attention immediately.

Risk factors

High levels of uric acids in the body can make you more susceptible to developing gout. The following factors can increase the amount of uric acid within the body:

Diet

Gout can be caused by a diet that consists primarily of red meat, seafood, and sweetened drinks with fruit sugar (fructose). Gout can also be caused by alcohol consumption, particularly beer.

Weight

Your body will produce more uric acid if you are overweight. This makes it harder for your kidneys and other organs to eliminate it.

Conditions that are medical

Gout can be increased by certain diseases and conditions. Untreated high blood pressure, chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome, along with other diseases and conditions can increase your risk of developing gout.

Certain medications

Low-dose aspirin and some drugs used to control hypertension, including thiazide diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and beta-blockers, can also increase uric acid levels. The same effects can be seen in people who have had organ transplants.

Gender and age

Gout is more common in men than it is in women, mainly due to lower levels of uric acid. After menopause, however, women’s levels of uric acid are similar to men’s. Gout is more common in men, who are usually between 30-50 years old, and women, who usually experience symptoms and signs after menopause.

Recent trauma or surgery

Gout attacks can sometimes be triggered by recent trauma or surgery. A gout flare up can be caused by a vaccine.

Complications

Gout can lead to more severe conditions such as these:

Recurrent gout

Gout may not be a common condition. Some people may experience gout multiple times per year. Gout attacks can be prevented by taking medication. Gout can cause joint damage and even death if left untreated.

Gouty arthritis

Gout can lead to deposits of urate crystals under the skin, called tophi. Tophi can form in many areas such as the elbows, fingers, and Achilles tendons at back of the ankles. Tophi are not usually painful but can become tender and inflamed during gout attacks.

Kidney stones

People with gout can develop kidney stones from the buildup of uric acid crystals. Kidney stones can be reduced by taking medication.