Sufferers From Gout Often Deal With Troublesome Pain

Feb 11, 2021

A common, complex type of arthritis capable of afflicting anyone, gout is characterized by severe, sudden attacks of swelling, tenderness, redness, and pain in the joints. A common site of these effects is the joint located at the big toe's base. Gout attacks can strike suddenly. They can wake someone up in the night, bringing them to alertness with a sensation as though their big toe has been lit on fire. The joint thus affected is swollen and hot, so tender that the light burden of a sheet's weight can seem intolerable. Gout occurs when urate crystals build up in one or more joints. Because men tend to have higher levels of uric acid, they are more likely to develop gout. However, women's levels of uric acid approach the levels of men following menopause.

Gout Causes

Gout has a specific cause and that is urate cyrstals. These crystals accumulate in a joint or joints. This causes inflammation and intense pain. Such urate crystals may form when the blood contains high levels of uric acid. The body breaks down purines, which occur naturally in the body, producing uric acid. Purines can also be found in particular foods. These include steak, seafood, organ meats, alcoholic beverages, and drinks that have been sweetened with fructose. When functioning normally, any uric acid that is produced will dissolve in the blood, passing through the kidneys and out in the urine. But when the kidneys excrete too little, or the body produces too much uric acid, it builds up. Sharp urate crystals build up in this case, needlelike formations in joints or surrounding tissues. Uric acid levels may also be increased by diet, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, and certain medications.

Signs of Gout

The symptoms and signs of gout nearly always arrive abruptly, frequently appearing in the night. The main sign of gout is intense pain in a joint or in several joints. While it typically strikes the large joint found in the big toe, any joint can experience the swelling and pain of a gout attack. These other joints often include fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles. The pain is usually at its most severe inside a span of four to twelve hours once the attack has begun. Another sign, once the worst of the pain has faded, is lingering joint discomfort. This can endure from days to weeks. Further indications include inflammation of the affected joints as well as redness. They become swollen, red, warm, and tender. Finally, as the flare-up of gout continues, the affected joints may experience a reduced range of motion. The joints may be incapable of normal movement.

Treating Gout

With self-management strategies and medical treatment, gout can be managed and treated effectively. Consulting a healthcare provider may result in one or more options. To manage flare-up pain, a variety of different medications can be chosen and provided. The prevention of future flares can be achieved with alterations to lifestyle and diet. People with recurrent flare-ups of gout can try losing weight, reducing the amount of purine-rich food in their diets, limiting their intake of alcohol, and avoiding certain medications that are associated with hyperuricemia. When people experience uric acid in chronic high levels, kidney stones and tophi may form. Tophi are deposits of uric acid under the skin; they are hard and uncomfortable.

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