Gout is a type of arthritis (joint disease) related to poorly controlled condition of too much uric acid in the blood which then eventually move to the joint and make deposits of crystals, causing inflammation in the affected joint. It is often found in the joint of big toe. However, it can affect knee and ankle, too. Fortunately, there are some effective treatments that can help for coping.
For many centuries ago, some diseases were more likely to be associated with social status (rich men), one of them was gout. It was thought as a consequence from overeating.
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But today, this kind of arthritis can affect anyone and it has nothing to do with wealth /social status – some studies have confirmed this issue! But one traditional perception is not myth. It is still a man’s disease since it affects more men than women.
Other factors that increase the risk of developing gout include:
- Age, the disease tends to develop at the age of older than 40. The number of women with gout increases drastically after menopause, too.
- Lifestyle factors, such as drinking too much alcohol, a common habit found in men.
- A family history of gouty arthritis.
- The use of certain medicines may have an effect, too. These include aspirin and thiazide diuretics.
- Some medical health conditions – such as hypertension (high blood pressure), arteriosclerosis (narrowing arteries), and diabetes.
This arthritis is triggered by the accumulation of uric acid, a breakdown product of protein called purine. Some purines can be found naturally in the body as the byproduct of when the body performs certain activities.
But most of purines can come from diet. Yap, some foods contain purines, even certain foods are very high in purines. Therefore, diet can play a key role to help control gout. For in-depth information about diet for gout, click here!
Normally, the excessively accumulation of uric acid in the bloodstream is filtered by your kidneys and then will go away when you pee. But in people with gout, they have greater tendency to have high uric acid in the blood.
Too much uric acid can move to the joint and stay in there, making deposits of needle-like crystals that can cause inflammation in the affected joint. Some excess uric acid may stay in the urinary tract, too – increasing the risk of kidney stones.
Though too much uric acid is commonly associated with gout, not all individuals with high uric acid develop gout. However, having too high uric acid is something that you cannot ignore. This maybe only about the time to see the symptom appears.
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An interesting fact, gout may also occur from a rapid loss of uric acid. In fact, A few men with this arthritis have normal levels of uric acid in their blood at the time of the attack.
But overall, controlling the uric acid level as normal as possible is the major concern in the treatment for gout.
During flare-up, gout is relatively more painful than other types of arthritis. But the good news, it is relatively easier to treat. Even some sufferers find that their gout never coming back after the first attack. In other words, it is extremely treatable.
The attack of this arthritis is more likely to come suddenly. Within a few hours, the affected knee or ankle can be swollen, hot, red, and painful. Even it may become intense enough to lead to fever.
In most cases, the inflammation and pain caused by gout respond very well to the use of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines), especially if these anti-inflammatory medicines are taken as promptly as possible. If you are unable to take them, other medicines are available, too.
Since controlling uric acid is the major issue in the treatment for gouty arthritis, doctors may need to prescribe additional medicines to help control the levels of uric acid and improve the function of the kidneys. These may include the use of xanthine oxidase inhibitors and probenecid.