What Is Gout?

Gout is a condition that’s caused by too much uric acid in the blood. Gout is a type of arthritis and for unkown reasons the symptoms of redness, swelling and pain are felt mostly in the big toe. About half the cases of gout manifest in the big toe, and in such cases the disease is called podagra. However, gout can also attack many other joints in the body, including the knees, the wrists and the fingers. Most people who get gout are men. They tend to drink alcoholic beverages, eat foods rich in purine like beans, lentils, seafood or liver, and have a family history of gout. People who’ve suffered injury to a joint or have undergone surgery are also at risk for gout.

Gout attacks

The first attack of gout usually comes at night and lasts for a few hours. Medical professionals believe that this is because the temperature of the body is lower at night. Over time, the attacks become more and more closely spaced and last longer. If gout isn’t treated, the build up of uric acid can cause kidney stones.

Gout Treatments

Among the treatments for gout are NSAIDS, which are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. Patients who can’t tolerate these drugs can be given colchicine or glucocorticoids. This can treat the pain of the gout and ease the inflammation somewhat. Ice packs can also be applied to the area.

Other doctors use joint aspiration. This is where the physician inserts a needle into an affected joint and draws fluid out of it. The needle can also inject medication into the joint and immediately ease the pain of the gout. The fluid drawn from the joint can then be analyzed in a laboratory to see if it has crystals that would confirm a diagnosis of gout or pseudogout. Pseudogout is a build up of calcium pyrophosphate, not uric acid, in the blood. Patients can also be given prophylactic drugs after their first attack of gout. This will help prevent future attacks.

Dietary Changes

Changes in diet may also help to prevent gout. Suffers may increase their intake of Vitamin C, reduce their intake of alcohol, lose weight and drink coffee, which helps to ease gout.