What is Gout: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Table of Contents
Gout is a painful inflammatory arthritis that commonly and often affects the big toe joint and other body parts, which can affect anyone. The attacks are sudden, severe and painful.
It mostly occurs in people with a high level of Uric acid (Urate) in their body, which causes the formation of Urate crystals around the firm joint tissues (eg. cartilage). It can reoccur, showing similar or the same symptoms as before, and disappear after some hours to a few days.
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The symptoms you may notice if you have Gout are severe joint pain, inflammation of the affected part, redness of the spot, discomfort and many others. Keep reading to learn more about this disease’s causes, symptoms, treatment, etc.
Causes of Gout
Gout is caused by the increase in the level of uric acids that are in your body. They are manufactured in the body and are also present in the food we eat. These uric acids occur due to the breakdown of purines and are regulated by the Kidney (through excretion).
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However, due to the inability of the Kidney to remove it or the excessive production and intake by the body, this uric acid accumulates around the joints, producing crystals with a needle-like shape.
When this happens, the spot where the uric acid has accumulated swells up and severe and sudden pain is felt, likened to someone whose toe is on fire.
When it occurs, you may notice symptoms like
- Pain (the most common symptom)
- The spot may be swollen
- The affected area will be warm and have a red colour
- Discomfort in that particular joint
- The spot will be very tender to an extent. Even the weight of the bedsheet in that spot would be unbearable.
Who is Likely to get Gout? /Risk Factors
Here are some factors that put you at high risk of developing and having a gout attack.
- Family history: Those who have a history of gout attack in their family may likely have it.
- Certain Health conditions: Those who have to deal with Obesity, overweight, diabetes, and heart or kidney problems also have it.
- Foods with High Purine content: Foods with high purine content increase the production of Uric acid (Urates) in the body, thereby alleviating the chances of developing the ailment (Gout)
- Alcohol: Similar to staying on a purine diet, alcoholics can develop this ailment because alcohol alleviates the production of Urtaes in the body.
- High BP drugs: Drugs such as Diuretics and Beta blockers can increase the tendency of developing the disease
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Who is Likely to get Gout?
Everybody can get Gout, but these people are more likely to develop it.
- Men: Men above the age of 40 are three times more likely to develop Gout than women.
- Women after Menopause: after menopause sets in, women tend to lose the protective effect of estrogen in their bodies, which increases their risk of developing the ailment.
- Alcoholics: it has been discovered that alcohol increases the rate of production of Urates in the body there, creating a higher probability of developing the ailment.
- Those who live on a high-purine diet can also develop the ailment.
How can It be Treated?
Gout can be treated by doing the following:
- Making Lifestyle Changes: Changing your lifestyle is one of the best ways to treat the ailment. Changing the food you eat (foods high in purine content such as red meat, oily seafood, foods with high yeast content, and alcohol intake). This will help you prevent further or future attacks.
- Taking Anti-inflammatory drugs: Taking anti-inflammatory medications as prescribed by your health care provider can help reduce the inflammation caused by the ailment.
- Uric acid-lowering drugs can be helpful: In some cases where it may be difficult for the kidneys to excrete the uric acid in the body, a uric acid-lowering drug can be beneficial.
- Prevent and try removing Tophi (stone) by seeking medical advice.
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Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis which causes severe pain and discomfort to its victim and is caused by the excessive production of Uric acid (Urates) by the breakdown of Purines in the body or the inability of the Kidney to excrete the excess uric acid thereby leading to the formation of Urate Crystals around the toe joint or any other joint in the body.
Severe pain is the most common symptom, while others may include inflammation of the joint, redness of the affected spot, warmness or hotness of the spot, and the discomfort it might bring to the victim.
To treat and prevent future attacks, seek medical advice and change your diet and lifestyle.