What is gout?
It is a form of inflammatory arthritis. Gout develops because of irregular uric acid from faulty purine metabolism. This condition develops in the feet first because it affects small bones.
Flare-ups are the times when a patient experiences acute pain. Remission occurs when a patient does not experience any pain or symptoms. The frequency of flare-ups or remission depends on lifestyle, uric acid levels, and more. Repeated flare-ups may lead to gouty arthritis, which is highly painful.
Who can develop gout?
Most patients are men. If women develop gout, it will usually occur after menopause. African Americans and Asia Pacific Islanders are more likely to develop this condition.
Patients that are overweight, eat a lot of purine-rich foods, regularly drink alcohol or have a family history of gout are at higher risk. Other factors include being an organ transplant patient or overexposure to lead.
How is gout prevented?
If there is a family history of gout, it is best to take steps towards prevention. Talk to a doctor about testing to determine the risk level of developing this condition.
Limiting some purine high foods, fats and alcohol are fantastic first steps. Beer has a direct connection to increased uric acid levels. Maintaining a healthy weight is also imperative.
Eating a gout diet may help to decrease the uric acid levels in your blood.
What symptoms does gout cause?
Usually the first symptom is extreme pain in the big toe after an injury. Some patients do not experience pain in the big toe first. In those cases, it may be in the other toes, ankle or knee. Other indicators are swelling, redness and heat in the painful area.
Gout will begin as an acute pain. If left untreated, it will progress to other joints and frequency of flare-ups will increase.
Can gout affect your back?
There is a rare condition called spinal gout. Symptoms range from tingling and numbness to a backache or extreme pain.
Spinal gout is commonly misdiagnosed. Not only the condition is rare but mimics many other causes of lower back pain. Spinal gout will present in the lumbar spine or the sacroiliac joint. Gout in these areas result in hip and/or lower back pain.
Does gout affect your knees?
Yes, it is called “Gout Knee”. Symptoms occur at night when your body temperature is lower. They usually include a rapid onset of pain, swelling, fatigue or redness of the skin. Tenderness and stiffness of the joint may occur.
Although unusual, some patients also develop a raised temperature. Patients may also have small bumps under the skin where the crystals have formed.
What foods are excellent for a gout diet?
Increase your water consumption. The Mayo Clinic suggests eight to sixteen drinks a day, with at least half of them being water. Complex carbs are good sources of low-purine foods. These include things like vegetables, fruits and whole grain bread.
Patients must research and speak with a doctor to create the best diet possible. It is important to keep in mind that other medical conditions a patient has, may affect your dietary needs.
What food should patients avoid?
According to Arthritis.org, patients should limit all alcohol. Various sources explain that the yeast in beer is harmful to uric acid levels.
Purine-rich foods need to be removed from the patient’s diet. Some examples are liver and other organ meats, venison, bacon, veal and turkey.
Some fish are high in purine as well. Anchovies, sardines, scallops, haddock and trout are a few.
Foods that have moderate levels of purine can be part of your diet. The key is to limit how much. Beef, duck, chicken and pork have moderate levels. A few shell fish like crab, oysters and lobster are part of this list.
Is there a cure?
Gout is not curable. However, long-term remission is possible if all factors like weight and uric acid levels are under control.
The doctor will start by getting the flare up under control. Although the tests results are in and a diagnosis reached, the doctor will not begin medication treatment immediately. You will need to wait for the current flare up to end. Taking the meds during the flare up has potential for worsening the condition.
Long-term treatment will revolve around lowering uric acid levels. Lifestyle changes like nutrition and weight control are necessary. Adding a supplement that is geared towards lowering uric acid levels may help as well.
Can gout be deadly?
No, gout itself is not deadly. Second and third-order effects of it can be. For instance, gout is common among patients that also have heart disease. Kidney failure leads to death but it is not clear if the kidney disease causes gout or if gout causes kidney disease.
In summary, gout is a type of arthritis that affects the small joints of your body. Uric acid crystals form in the joints when your uric acid level is too high. A healthy diet of foods low in purine and drinking plenty of water will help prevent and manage this condition.
Consider reading, 6 Health Benefits of Adding Ginger to Your Diet. Arthritis is an inflammatory disease that may benefit from ginger.