Gout is also known as “inflammatory arthritis”. It is a type of arthritis that is very painful and caused by too much uric acid in the body. Gout can affect anyone, but it is very common to people of age above 30. The causes of gout are mainly diet-related, but the overall condition is caused by the high level of uric acid in the body, which collects in the joints and causes pain. Conversely, not all people with high uric acid suffer from gout.
What Are The Causes And Symptoms Of Gout?
Dehydration is also a leading cause of gout pain. Gout is initially caused by excess uric acid and it leads to a condition known as hyperuricemia. Uric acid is formed in our body by the breakdown of chemical compounds which are found in seafood, meat, poultry, etc. If you produce too much uric acid and your kidneys don’t filter enough out, it can build up tiny, sharp crystals around joints.
These crystals then cause inflammation and pain in joints. Most commonly, kidney diseases are also caused by gout. However, vice-versa can also occur. Many people with kidney disease suffer from uncontrolled gout which leads to other complications. Unfortunately, gout spreads all over the body and it is known as “rich man’s disease” because it is linked to a diet full of seafood, meats, and alcohol.
The Most Common Symptoms of Gout are:
- Pain in the Joints
Pain in the toe is one of the most notable symptoms of gout and the sign which patients suffer the most. This symptom is referred to as podagra by doctors and leads to a gout diagnosis. In healthy people, uric acid dissolves in the blood, travels to the kidney and expelled out via urine. However, folks with gout produce too much uric acid and don’t properly expel out. This excess uric acid gets deposited in the joints and toe which causes inflammation and pain. The affected area becomes very tender even to a light touch.
- Joint Discomfort
Some joint discomfort lasts from a few days to weeks. This is due to the urate crystals that are collected beneath the skin forming small firm lumps called tophi. Tophi aren’t usually painful but they cause some discomfort for normal activities. Tophi can also grow and cause damage to your cartilage and bone
Diagnosis and Treatment of Gout
Diagnosing gout is quite straightforward if you have typical symptoms like pain on joints and it can be done using the end of gout shelly manning. But sometimes it becomes difficult for doctors to diagnose and some tests like blood tests for measuring uric acid content and imaging tests like CT scan, ultrasound scan for spotting damages in bones should be conducted.
Treatments for gout are incredibly successful. Treating an attack of gout doesn’t lower the uric acid content of your blood. It only manages the symptoms when an attack happens. The most commonly used drugs for treatment are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAID), colchicine, steroids. In cases where one drug doesn’t seem to work alone, a combination of NSAIDs with colchicine or steroids is suggested by the physician. The earlier you start treatment, the better.
How can we manage an attack from home?
- Keep the area cool: An ice bag or frozen pea wrapped in a towel will be good at reducing the pain and swelling of the affected area.
- Give rest to the affected area: Retrieve the affected area from normal activities and give rest.
- Get a bed cage: Support the bedsheets above the affected areas so that the area can rest without any strain from bedsheets.
How to Prevent Gout Attacks?
There are drugs for lowering uric acid content, they are known as urate-lowering therapies or ULTs.Treatment with ULTs generally starts after a gout attack is completely gone. It takes a few months for the drugs to cure your body completely of gout. But, once they are gone, you will no longer have gout, tophi or joint damage due to gout. It’s important to remember that drugs do not clear away gout straight forward.
You could experience more attacks and symptoms for the first six months of starting them. If this happens to you don’t stop taking drugs. This is actually the sign of drugs are working. When the drug gets dissolved in the blood, it becomes smaller and can get into joints more easily and triggers the attack.
I hope you liked and found useful this article on ‘Gout-causes, symptoms and the best treatment’. Do leave a comment if you have any queries regarding this and we will try our best to answer you.