Gout is a health condition caused by the excessive secretion of uric acid in the blood. In severe cases the accumulation of uric acid in the joints leads to the formation of crystals in the joints. It causes sudden burning pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints. Over the time, gout harms the joints, tendons and other tissues of the body.
Commonly reported in men, gout has been found be prone in people who are overweight, drink excess of alcohol, overeat foods rich in purines (such as fish and meat).
Common Signs of Gout
-Night-time onset of swelling
-Sudden pain in the big toe.
Foot, ankle, knees and joints are the commonly affected areas in gout. The attack may last for a few days to weeks and may or may not come back after months.
Diagnosis of Gout
-The doctor shall first perform a physical examination wherein he shall ask you relevant signs. He may perform a blood test to check for the increased levels of uric acid in the blood.
-In severe cases, sample of fluid from your joints is taken to check for the formation of uric acid crystals.
–X-ray examination of the extremities (feet and hands) is usually performed to study the affected areas in the later stages.
Management of Gout
Treatment of gout involves both short term medicines (that help to relieve pain and inflammation and prevents recurrent attacks) and long term medicines (that lower the uric acid levels in the blood).
The short medicines include NSAIDs, colchicine and corticosteroids and the long term medicines include uricosuric agents and xanthine oxidase inhibitors.
Living With Gout
If you are diagnosed with gout, make sure you take the following things in consideration to minimize further attacks:
–Control your weight. Obesity and overweight increases your risk for gout. Avoid very low calorie diets as they are high in uric acid and therefore may act as a trigger.
–Exercise Regularly. Include moderate 30 minutes workout in your daily routine.
–Limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol reduces the release of uric acid, however, this increases the accumulation of the acid in the body.
–Limit intake of purine rich foods such as meat and seafood.