Gout: Everything You Need to Know

MaNaDr2021-12-12
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Gout is one of the most well-documented medical illnesses throughout history. So, what exactly is gout? What can you do at home if you are in pain due to a gout attack? Take a look at our article for more information.

Swelling, painful toe because of gout attack
Typically, Gout attacks affect the big toe. However, it can also be found in other joints, such as the knee, ankle, foot, hand, wrist, and elbow.

What is Gout?

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints.

It is distinguished by attacks of intense pain, swelling, redness in one or more joints, most commonly the big toe.

Symptoms of Gout

Gout symptoms almost always appear suddenly, often at night, and can last for days or weeks. It is frequently found in the big toe. Along with the big toe, the lesser toe joints, the ankle, wrist, elbow, the knee are frequently affected.

The common symptoms include:

  • Intense pain, even to light touch
  • Lingering discomfort
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Heat, a feeling like the joint is “on fire.”
  • Limited range of motion

What causes Gout?

Gout is caused by hyperuricemia, a condition in which the body has an excess of uric acid. Uric acid is normally dissolved in the blood and excreted from the body through the kidneys as urine. Uric acid can build up if a person produces too much or does not excrete enough of it. Inflammation and pain are caused in the joints and surrounding tissue as a result of these.

The body produces uric acid during the breakdown of purines, which are abundant in certain foods such as meat, poultry, and seafood.

What increases your chances of Gout?

You’re more likely to get gout if you:

  • Are a middle-aged man or a woman who has gone through menopause
  • Take medications such as diuretics and cyclosporine
  • Having certain health conditions, including:
    • Congestive heart failure
    • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
    • Insulin resistance
    • Metabolic syndrome
    • Diabetes
    • Poor kidney function
  • Drinking alcohol. As alcohol consumption increases, so does the risk of gout.
  • Consuming fructose-rich foods
  • Consuming purine-rich foods includes red meat, organ meat, and some kinds of seafood, such as anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout, and tuna.
  • Weight: Being overweight or obese and having high levels of visceral body fat has been linked with an increased risk of gout.
  • Have a family history of gout.

How frequently do Gout attacks occur?

Some people experience gout attacks on a regular basis, while others go years without experiencing one. Gout attacks may become more frequent and last longer if not treated. It can occur repeatedly in the same joint or in different joints.

Can Gout be cured?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for gout, but you can certainly treat Gout effectively and put it in remission by medication and home remedies.

Medication

Talk to your healthcare provider about medications that can reduce uric acid levels.

Home remedies

A person’s purine levels and the likelihood of having a gout flare can be reduced by making some dietary changes. Some home remedies for gout include:

Drinking a lot of water

Water is the best option, but broths and herbal teas are also good options because increasing fluid consumption can stimulate a person’s kidneys to excrete excess fluid, which can reduce swelling in a gout patient.

Consult a doctor before increasing the fluid intake if you have heart failure or kidney disease

Applying ice to affected joints

Applying an ice pack wrapped in a cloth to the affected joint can help reduce gout-related inflammation. To help relieve pain, apply an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel for 10–15 minutes several a time a day.

Rest the joint

You can elevate the affected joints. This way encourages blood and fluid to move away from the joint and back toward the heart. If you can, raise the joint on a pillow or other soft object.

Eating more cherries

According to a 2016 survey, cherries, whether sour, sweet, red, or black, are a popular and potentially effective home remedy for many people.

Ginger

Ginger is a culinary food and herb that is used to treat inflammatory conditions

Avoiding high-purine meats

Avoiding meats with high levels of purine may help to alleviate gout symptoms. Purine-rich meats and fish include the following: bacon, turkey, veal, venison, organ meats, such as liver, anchovies, sardines, mussels, herring, cod, haddock, trout, scallops

Avoiding alcohol

Alcohol can contribute to dehydration and precipitate acute gout attacks. Alcohol can also cause hyperuricemia by interfering with uric acid metabolism.

Gout prevention

You can help prevent gout by making the following lifestyle changes:

Watch what you eat and drink

Reduce your intake of purine-rich foods. Avoid sugary drinks (such as soda), sugary foods, and foods containing high fructose corn syrup, as well as alcohol, particularly beer.

Consume a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and drink plenty of water instead.

For people with only mildly elevated uric acid levels, dietary changes may be all that’s needed to prevent gout.

Maintain a healthy weight

Losing weight relieves pressure on joints, particularly weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees, in people who are overweight or obese. A healthy weight can help to relieve pain, improve function, and slow the progression of arthritis.

Take care of your joints

Arthritis can be caused or worsened by joint injuries. Choose joint-friendly activities such as walking, bicycling, and swimming. Learn more about how to exercise safely while suffering from arthritis.

Get some exercise

Adults should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week.

Stress management

Gout attacks can be triggered by stress in some people. This is because high levels of stress and anxiety are linked to elevated uric acid levels. You can control your stress by practicing meditation.

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Reference: Cleveland clinic; Harvard Health Publishing; US National Libary of Medicine National Institutes of Health; Medical News Today; Healthline, WebMD, CDC.

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