Gout

GoutWhat is Gout?

Gout is actually an inflammation or swelling of the joints. It is chronic in character and could often come in acute attacks. It is regarded as among the diseases of the rich and wealthy, mostly affecting middle-aged men. Women get affected by gout too, but usually after menopause and it is not as common as in men.

 

When you look at history, gout was already a problem in ancient Rome and Greece. In 1663, there was already a description of gout, and it was differentiated from other types of diseases affecting the joints. In the 18th century, it was found that drinking alcohol and eating large meals were usually a prelude to attacks of gout. In fact, several famous men were affected by gout, people like Luther, Alexander the Great, Dr. Johnson, and Newton.

 

What Causes Gout?

  • Uric acid. This is the primary cause of gout. When uric acid crystals form in the joints, kidneys, or the skin, pain is often the result. The body undergoes a variety of chemical processes and uric acid is one of the end products of these processes. Persons suffering from gout were found to have higher levels of uric acid, as compared to those who don’t. This is the result from either increased amounts of acid that the kidney passes out or that there is now a reduced amount of uric acid. Usually, the uric acid is dissolved in the blood, however, when the blood becomes so full, uric acid will then form into crystals that are shaped like needles right in the joints. This will then bring attacks of gout and would literally cause pain. The genes play an important role whether one is at risk of suffering from gout or not because those who have family members who were already established as gout sufferers are more likely to suffer from the disease when the time comes.
  • Excessive alcohol intake. Those who are alcoholics are prone to suffer from gout. Men who are at such a high risk to develop gout are those who take more than 2 drinks in a day, and women who take more than 1 drink a day are also susceptible to gout.
  • Too much eating of protein-rich foods, as well as carbohydrate-rich foods.
  • Lack of exercise. Men who live sedentary lives are known to suffer from gout.
  • Stress. This is also regarded as a cause of gout. What happens is when the body reacts to certain stimuli, usually in an alarming situation, millions of cells in the body are destroyed. When the cells are destroyed, uric acid found in the cells is thereby released and after they are neutralized by sodium, they then enter the tissues.
  • Certain medications. There are certain types of medications that are known to increase uric acid levels in the body. One of the said medications is thiazide diuretics. This is used for the treatment of hypertension. Low dose aspirin is also among those that could lead to gout.

 

Diagnosis, Signs and Symptoms of Gout

  • Pain in big toe. This is usually the first sign of an attack of gout. The area affected then becomes tender, swollen, and hot. Sometimes, the act of putting weight on the affected area becomes an impossible task. Later it could affect other parts of the body such as the wrists and knees.
  • Attack usually occurs during midnight or in the wee hours of the morning. This is most likely to happen when the patient gets to be awakened suddenly. This type of attack, also referred to as acute attack, can last for about one week or more.
  • Slight fever. When there is a continuing attacks of gout, slight fever usually accompanies it.
  • Loss of appetite. People who suffer from gout tend to lose their appetites and would feel disinclined to eat.
  • Recurrence of the attack. There is no definite period as to when a recurrence might happen again, but gout is chronic and always has the tendency to recur.
  • Stomach pains. This is usually brought about by the kidney stones that form out of elevated uric acid levels. Having kidney stones is one of the ill complications of gout.
  • Intense pain in the joints. Aside from the pain in the big toe and in the stomach, the joints also suffer from pain when gout is present.

 

Remedies, Treatment and Cure for Gout

  • Water. This is known as the universal solvent and is considered as one of the best treatments for gout. You should drink 8 – 16 cups of fluids every day. Half of this would have to be water.
  • Try to steer clear of alcohol. This has been known to cause uric acid levels to go up, which eventually could lead to gout. Hence, avoiding alcohol would be one way to keep your uric acid at acceptable levels.
  • Try to limit the amount of meat in your diet. Make it a point to consume only 4 – 6 ounces of meat daily and nothing more.
  • You can eat protein but always prefer healthy sources like low-fat, or fat-free dairy.
  • Eat more hi-potassium foods like potatoes, leafy green vegetables, beans, and vegetable juices are known to protect the body from gout. Add some more carrot juice to the list combined with beet and cucumber juice.

More Useful Remedies

  • Vitamin C. Taking in foods rich in Vitamin C, or supplements thereof, can help in reducing the uric acid levels in your body. Although it has not yet been established that Vitamin C is a cure or treatment for gout, it was just shown that it could reduce uric acid levels.
  • Coffee. Some studies have suggested that coffee could also help in lowering uric acid levels in the body, although this has not yet been regarded as an actual cure for gout.
  • Cherries. This fruit has shown characteristics that could lower uric acid in the body too. This, along with other fruits like raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, as well as purple grapes, can be helpful for your gout treatment too.
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