All About Gout
Gout is a common and complicated type of arthritis that can strike anyone at any time. It's marked by extreme, intense pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in one or more joints, most often the big toe. Gout attacks can strike without warning, waking you up in the middle of the night with the feeling that your big toe is on fire. Even the weight of the bedsheet on the affected joint can seem unbearable because it is sticky, swollen, and tender.
Causes of gout
Gout happens when urate crystals build up in your joints, causing inflammation and excruciating pain. When your blood contains too much uric acid, urea crystals will form. When your body breaks down purines, which are substances contained naturally in your body, uric acid is produced. Purines can also be used in certain foods, such as red meat and organ meats like liver. Anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, salmon, and tuna are examples of purine-rich seafood. Higher levels of uric acid are promoted by alcoholic beverages, especially beer, and drinks sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose). Uric acid dissolves in your blood and flows through your kidneys into your urine in normal circumstances. However, your body can produce too much uric acid or your kidneys can excrete too little uric acid at times. Uric acid may build up in a joint or surrounding tissue, forming sharp, needle like urate crystals that cause pain, inflammation, and swelling.
Symptoms of gout
Some people have an excess of uric acid in their blood but show no signs or symptoms. Asymptomatic gout is the term for this form of gout. The accumulation of uric acid crystals in your joint cause acute gout, which causes symptoms to appear rapidly and last for 3 to 10 days. You'll experience severe pain and swelling, as well as a warm sensation in your joint. You won't have any symptoms in between gout attacks. Gout can become chronic if it is not treated. Tophi, or hard lumps, can form in your joints, as well as the skin and soft tissue surrounding them. These deposits will damage your joints in the long run. To avoid gout being chronic, it is important to seek care as soon as possible.
Treatment of gout
Gout, if left untreated, will progress to arthritis. This painful condition will permanently damage and swell your joint. Gout medications function in one of two ways: they either alleviate discomfort and reduce inflammation, or they lower uric acid levels and avoid further gout attacks. Your doctor can prescribe lifestyle changes in addition to medications to help manage your symptoms and reduce your risk of future gout attacks. For instance, the doctor may advise you to:
- Reduce the consumption of alcohol
- Lose weight
- Quit smoking
Prevention of gout
To prevent the onset of gout, you can reduce your alcohol intake, limit shellfish, lamb, beef, etc., participate in a non-dairy diet that is rich with vegetables, lose weight, stop smoking if you are a smoker, exercise regularly, and stay hydrated.