What is Gout
Gout is a form of painful arthritis that is characterized by red, hot and swollen joints, mostly the foot joints. The pain usually last for a few hours and often occur in the night. Gouty arthritis is more common in men over 40 years of age and more than 5 million people in the USA are estimated to be suffering from this condition.
Symptoms of Gout
Gout symptom is characterized by what is called a gout attack which is a sudden sensation of pain in the joint, mostly in the big toe of the feet. The affected area is painful, red, swollen and feels hot. Gout can also affect the knee, ankle and hand joints.
The pain often start in the night when the body temperature is lower. The pain can be so severe that a blanket coming into contact with the swollen area is enough to increase the pain. These gout attacks would generally last for 3 to 10 days and seldom more than 2 weeks. The next gout attack could be weeks, months or even years later.
What Causes Gout
Gout is caused by an abnormally high level of uric acid in the body. Uric acid is produced by the breakdown of purines in the body, a natural substance found in the body and in almost all foods.
Uric acid is normally passed out of the body through the urine. While uric acid is essential as an antioxidant in helping to protect our blood vessels, too much uric acid can cause uric acid crystals (tophi) to be formed over time around the joints of bones, causing inflammation of the joints. High levels of uric acid can also lead to kidney stones.
Treatment for Gout
Gout treatment generally involves medications to relieve the inflammation and pain using NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen. However, there are side effects associated with Ibuprofen such as nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite, diarrhea and constipation.
Colchicine is another medication used to treat gout but has side effects such as stomach cramps, vomiting and nausea. Colchicine may interact with other drugs to produce some negative effects. One particular fruit to avoid when taking colchicine is grapefruit.
Gout treatment also involve prevention since gout is attributed to certain foods we eat. Sufferers should adhere to a gout diet and avoid or reduce the consumption of foods that are high in purines such as sardines, anchovies, liver, kidney, mussels and yeast.
“Glucosamine produced in the body provides natural building blocks for growth, repair and maintenance of cartilage. Like chondroitin, glucosamine may lubricate joints, help cartilage retain water and prevent its breakdown. Trial results are mixed, but overall, glucosamine appears to reduce pain and improve function in OA. Research also suggests glucosamine may slow joint damage.”