Contributed by- Dr. Snehal Singh
Gout comes from gutta,a Latin word that means drop. That is a reference to the common belief that it is caused by drop-by -drop accumulation of acid in the joints. Gout a painful form of arthritis can be best explained by a person who has been the victim of sudden painful attacks. For gout patients it might seem like an arcade of diseases, with the starting point being the big toe and other locations being knees, elbow, thumps or fingers.
This condition occurs when there are elevated levels of uric acid in the blood. These elevated levels of uric acids cause the formation of crystals, which gets accumulated in and around the joints. This creates a flare- up and leads to symptoms that include:
- Severe pain
The encouraging facts about Gout are that it is almost curable. It can be taken care by knowing your triggers, proper prevention and following the treatment plan.
Understanding Gout: Know Your Triggers
There are all sorts of things ranging from certain food and drinks to lifestyle and medications that can lead to increases uric acid levels. The trigger factors for Gout can be medical triggers and lifestyle triggers. Hence if a person is suffering from Gout, then these triggering factors should be kept in mind and avoided accordingly.
The typical medical or health factors that can trigger Gout are:
- Joint injury
- Sudden severe illness
- Kidney diseases
- Medical stress
- Diabetes and pre-diabetes
- Arsenic exposure (Even low levels of arsenic exposure can cause Gout in females)
- Having certain diuretic medication, high blood pressure, leg swelling or heart failure
- Started with uric acid-lowering treatment
There are certain foods, drinks and other lifestyle factors that can contribute to the increased uric acid levels or flaring of Gout attacks. These factors include:
- Obesity or overweight
- Excessive intake of alcohol
- Being dehydrated
- Having large portions of foods that are high in purines like red meats, shellfish, mussels, turkey, bacon,etc.
- Having an excess of sweet sodas like energy drinks, sweetened lemonade, sweetened iced tea,etc.
- Extreme weather changes
Somethings are unavoidable,and sometimes things are not in our hand, but the best thing that can be done is to keep track of your triggers.
Treatment for Gout
Gout is a deeply painful and a disabling inflammatory arthritic condition, which mostly involves a single joint but can also involve other joints. Hence the initial objective of the treatment is to reduce the pain and inflammation on an immediate basis.
The treatment of Gout requires a two-forked approach that combines medications and lifestyle modifications
Treating an acute attack Of Gout
Following are the steps that can help in providing relief or controlling the pain and inflammation experienced during the severe gout attack.
- Use ice packs
- Keep the egg elevated
- Rest the joint
- Increase fluid intake
- Relax as stress can increase the pain
- Having an anti-inflammatory medication
- Intra-articular corticosteroid injections
- Oral corticosteroid therapy
- Visit a doctor
Pain caused due to a Gout attack mostly gets better in almost 3-10 days, but it suggested to consult a doctor and get it treated. Without treatment, the gout attack will be at its worst between 12 to 24 hours. An exam or a test will help in getting the proper diagnosis and the cause of the problem.
Prevention Of Gout
Along with the medications, specific preventive measures can be taken to prevent a gout attack. Some of the common preventive measures that should beconsideredare:
- If gout is genetic, then it is essential especially for men to limit their alcohol intake
- Increase your fluid intake
- Avoid having red meat
- Avoid all sugary drinks
- Losing excessive weight or maintaining a healthy body weight
- Regular exercise
- Having a diet rich in plant-based, vegetables,and complex carbohydrates
- People who are prone to gout should have a low purine diet
- Keeping a track on the uric acid levels
Proper diagnosis, medication,and prevention can help in easing the gout attack and preventing other attacks. This old disease is becoming more common, due to changes in the diet, lifestyle and environmental factors. But the good news is that it is curable with the right and timely attention.
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