Gout is a type of arthritis that affects the ankle, big toe, and knee. This condition is painful and may cause serious swelling in the affected area. According to the CDC, gout occurs when one has high levels of uric acid in the body. Our body produces uric acid when it breaks down purine, a chemical compound found in some of the food we eat.
When there is a high level of uric acid in the body, monosodium urate crystals will start to build up within the joints. Gout is triggered when the crystals accumulate over a period of time. A recent survey found that over 3 million Americans suffer from this condition. As can be seen in this study, gout is prevalent among men — though it can also affect women. Women have a higher chance of developing the condition after menopause.
Types of Gout
This is when a patient has a high level of uric acid but isn’t experiencing any of the symptoms associated with the condition. Health experts don’t usually recommend any treatment at this stage. However, they may advise that you address the factors causing the rise in your uric acid levels.
Note that elevated levels of uric acid may cause tissue damage.
This is when urate crystals accumulate in a joint and cause severe pain and inflammation. The pain and inflammation may last for days or weeks. High alcohol intake and stress can make the pain linger even longer.
Here, gout happens in “attacks” where there are periods of time in between without symptoms. As the condition gets worse, these intervals may become shorter.
Chronic Tophaceous Gout
Chronic tophaceous gout is the most severe type of gout. Most times, it may cause permanent damage to the kidneys and joints. Chronic tophaceous usually affects patients who have had acute gout for many years. The condition may not deteriorate to this state if patients receive proper treatment.
Symptoms of Gout
Below are some symptoms you may experience if you have gout:
- Intense Pain
Diagnosis of Gout
Your doctor will carry out a physical exam, review your medical history, and ask you about your symptoms to determine if you have gout. Your doctor may also carry out a test to see if there is a buildup of uric acid in the area you are experiencing the discomfort. During the test, fluid will be taken from the affected area and tested to see if it contains uric acid.
Depending on the severity of your case, your doctor may take an X-ray of the affected joint too.
How to Treat Gout
To address gout, your doctor may recommend two sets of medications. Below is an overview of both of them:
Pain Relief Medications
These help to bring down inflammation and relieve pain. Listed are some of them:
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like Bufferin, Aleve, and Mortin
Prescriptions that Address Gout
- Xanthine oxidase inhibitors
Your doctor may also recommend that you make some lifestyle changes to manage the symptoms associated with the condition. Here are some of them:
- Lose weight
- Quit smoking
- Reduce your intake of alcohol
A surgical procedure may be recommended if joints, tendons, or tissues are severely damaged.
How to Manage Gout
Below are some natural remedies that can address gout. Be sure to consult your doctor before trying any of them.
- Cherries: Cherries are loaded with anthocyanins, a compound that has anti-inflammatory properties. A 2012 study found that consuming cherries can reduce the risk of gout by 35%. Even more, it can reduce the symptoms associated with gout.
- Lemon Water: A 2015 study found that drinking lemon water may help reduce the uric acid levels of people suffering from gout.
- Coffee: As can be seen in this study, drinking coffee can reduce the risk of gout since it lowers uric acid levels.
- Ice: Applying an ice pack on the affected area can help reduce inflammation and pain. To get the best results, wrap the ice in a thin towel and apply for 10 to 15 minutes.
- What food can cause gout? Below are some foods that may increase the risk of you developing gout:
- Alcoholic beverages
2. How do I prevent gout? Here are a few things you can do to prevent gout:
- Reduce your alcohol intake
- Quit smoking
- Lose weight
- Drink lots of water
- Avoid foods that can cause the condition
Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!