Arthritis comes in many different forms. Gout is one of these forms.
The short name belies the serious and complex nature of a person suffering from gout. Unlike some other forms of arthritis, gout is rather unpredictable and comes in the form of attacks instead of constant aching.
Gout is usually located within a person’s toe joints, but can also affect some other joints in the body. Pain can be rather severe when a gout attack starts before it relaxes and generally decreases. Unlike some forms of arthritis, gout can be reduced by changes to lifestyle and diet. Learning more about gout is a good place to start. Check out some of the symptoms to look for. Learn more about what actually causes gout and how it can be treated.
Symptoms of Gout
The symptoms of gout are fairly obvious and don’t feature a lot of extra generic symptoms. Gout symptoms flare up and then go away in most cases. Gout is most common in the joint of the big tow. However, it can theoretically appear in any joint. Aside from the big toe, ankles, fingers, wrists, elbows and knees can also experience gout. The symptoms to expect are:
- Severe Pain - The pain from gout starts off fast and grows to a peak in the first four to twelve hours of a flare up. From there, it tends to reduce.
- Inflammation - The affected area will swell with inflammation and be very tender. The skin will turn red and often feel warm to the touch.
- Discomfort - After the initial pain, it’s common for the area to still feel some discomfort for somewhere between a couple of days and a few weeks.
- Reduced Motion - Gout can cause the joint in question to lose some range of motion, especially as it progresses and occurs multiple times.
Causes of Gout
Gout is very specifically caused by a buildup of crystals in joints. These crystals come when the body produces uric acid. Now, normally uric acid is needed to break down certain substances that aren’t naturally created by the body and come in through foods. These are known as purines. If too many purines are eaten, too much uric acid needs to be created to counteract the issue. The kidneys would normally filter out the uric acid, but when there’s too much, they can’t and the acid comes together to form sharp crystals that collect in a joint. From there, the crystals cause the trademark symptoms of gout and arthritis.
People looking to avoid gout should make sure their diet avoids seafood, some meat and drinks high in fructose. These are serious risk factors. Obese people are more likely to get gout. Several medical conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease and high blood pressure all increase the chance of getting gout. Gout also runs in families. Specific medications can increase the chance of getting gout. Gout is more likely to occur in men between the ages of 30 and 50 or women after menopause.
Treatment of Gout
The first step for gout is easy. It’s all about changing your diet and lifestyle to reduce the intake of purines that cause the uric acid crystals. This can be done by keeping a careful and healthy diet and exercising.
Beyond this, medication is the main treatment. The first grouping of gout medications work to prevent future attacks. Afterall, there’s no reason to take gout prevention medication if you’re never gotten it before. Sometimes people still have to deal with multiple gout attacks each year. In those cases, there are different medications that might be taken. These medications aren’t aimed at reducing attacks, but at negating some of the complications and further damage that gout can cause.