Our body has the tendency of screaming out the unusual changes happening deep inside us. But at times, we ignore these red flags. This ignorance can eventually worsen the situation, leading to complications we cannot handle. Swelling, numbness, pain in the toes, sometimes considered to be normal can be signs of “Gout”.
What is Gout?
“Gout” is one of the most painful form of inflammatory arthritis. In the ancient times, Gout was also known as “Disease of kings”. But gout is still very much with us affecting nearly 8.3 million adults with more than half experiencing multiple gout attacks each year.
Gout develops in people with excess levels of uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia). The acid forms needle like crystals in the joint and cause sudden, severe episodes of pain, redness, tenderness, warmth and swelling (called flares). Gout arthritis is also associated with other illnesses, such as cardiovascular diseases and metabolic syndrome.
Gout usually affects one joint at a time. But, if left untreated, gout can cause other underlying problems too. Such as lumps of uric acid crystals under the skin around the joints. These crystals can also form into kidney stones.
Symptoms of Gout:
Gout appears to come suddenly, but in reality, it’s the end result of a process that’s been taking place in the body for a while. The symptoms of gout include:
- ● Intense joint pain
- ● Lingering discomfort
- ● Inflammation and redness
- ● Limited range of motion
Stages of Gout:
Stage 1 Asymptomatic hyperuricemia: This is the stage with no visible symptoms, but the uric acid levels are high in the blood with crystal formations.
Stage 2 Acute gout or Gout attack: This happens when something triggers uric acid levels to spike or jostles the crystals formed in the joint. If left untreated, the pain may increase and regress over a week.
Stage 3 Interval gout: This is the time between the gout attacks. Although there is no pain, the gout isn’t gone. Low-level inflammation starts damaging the joints.
Stage 4 Chronic gout: This stage develops in people with high blood uric acid levels over a period of time. Attacks become more frequent and painful, damaging the joints leading to loss of mobility.
Risk Factors for Gout:
● Genes: If gout runs in the family, you are more likely to develop it.
● Age and gender: Gouts are more common in men than women until around age 60. Experts believe that the natural estrogen protects women up to that point.
● Diet: Consumption of foods with high purine such as red meat and shellfish are considered as flare trigger and increases the risk.
● Obesity: Obese people are at an increased risk for gout, and they tend to develop it at a younger age than people of healthy weight.
● Sodas: Soft drinks or soda fanciers might be in the same gouty boat. The fructose in sodas or soft drinks increases gout risk.
● Alcohol: The possibility for gout is high for people, who often consume alcoholic drinks.
● Few medications: Diuretic medications or “water pills” used for high blood pressure can increase the uric acid levels.
● Other health conditions: High cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease may also raise your risk.
Tips to relieve pain during Gout attack
Here are few tips to relieve the pain during gout attack:
- ● Identify and try avoiding the triggers
- ● Relax as stress can aggravate gout
- ● Take an anti-inflammatory medication as soon as possible
- ● Apply ice packs and elevate the joint
- ● Drink plenty of fluids
Gout is the most curable form of arthritis if treated on right time. If you are experiencing any sudden, intense pain in a joint then don’t ignore the pain, consult an orthopedic at the earliest. Log on to www.askapollo.com to book an online appointment.