Gout is very common, 9 million Americans have gout. Gout is a form of arthritis that can affect anyone. It presents with sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in one or more joints without warning. Gout attacks primarily occur at night. The pain is so severe that even the weight of the bedsheet may seem intolerable. More than 50% of gout attacks start in the big toe.
However, it can occur anywhere such as the fingers, knees, ankles and feet. Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid. Uric acid
is a naturally occurring waste product that occurs when your body breaks down purine substances. Uric acid will be elevated when the kidneys are unable to filter it. The elevated uric acid allows for urate crystals to accumulate in the joint causing inflammation and intense pain.
Purine is found in many foods in our diet such as red meat, organ meats (liver), seafood (anchovies, mussels, scallops, trout, anchovies and many more), alcoholic beverages such as beer and sweet drinks that contain fructose which promotes a higher level of uric acid. Aside from diet being overweight, genetics, medical conditions (diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease), medications (low-dose aspirin,
thiazide diuretics, ACEi and beta blockers) and age (more common in men) can increase your risks for gout. Being overweight forces the body to produce more uric acid making the kidney have a harder time eliminating it. Complications of gout include recurrence, kidney stones and advanced gout which causes
the development of tophi.
Gout is treatable, but not curable. The first step to treatment is prescribing medications such as
anti-inflammatory drugs (colchicine or NSAIDs) or corticosteroids (prednisone). This will help control the joint and bring down the inflammation, swelling and redness. The second step to treatment is lowering the uric acid levels. The lower the uric acid levels are the less your chances of developing gout will be. Lifestyle changes are always recommended such as weight loss, decreasing alcohol consumption and avoiding the above foods mentioned will go a long way in helping prevent recurrent attacks. Allopurinol can also be taken to help prevent recurrent count.
This article reviewed by Ms. Deb Dooley.
There’s nothing more important than our good health – that’s our principal capital asset.
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