Posted on: 12 January 2017
If you've ever had an attack of gout, you understand why you never want to get it again. Hopefully, you did not get your attack for Christmas, but the holidays are a prime time for this disease to strike. Here's some things you can do to lessen your risk of gout and what you can do to treat it.
What Is Gout?
Gout is a type of arthritis that is a common source of foot pain in adults. It's caused when too much uric acid, a byproduct of metabolism, builds up in the blood, either because the body produces too much or the kidneys are unable to remove it adequately. The uric acid forms crystals that invade joints and surrounding tissues, causing inflammation and severe pain. The most common place for it to occur is in the big toe, but it can occur in the fingers, knees, and elbows as well.
Usually a gout flare up lasts about a week, and over time, the attacks can become more severe, causing permanent damage to your joints. That's why you should see your physician or foot specialist when systems first appear.
Prevalence and Risk Factors
Gout is found throughout the world, but is more common in developed countries, likely because of diet and lifestyle. According to emedicinehealth.com, more than 6 million Americans suffer from the condition. It is most common in men over 40 and post-menopausal women.
People who eat large amounts of red meat, organ meats, fish and foods high in fat or sugar and those who drink a lot of alcohol, especially beer, are more prone to gout flare ups. That is the reason that doctors see an increase in gout attacks during the holiday season. Other risk factors include genetics, diabetes, kidney disease and hypertension.
Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
People who suffer from gout say they typically start feeling a burning or tingling feeling in their affected joint several hours before a flare up. The tingling then turns to redness, swelling, and severe pain. Many sufferers cannot walk or even stand to have something touch the affected joint. Often, if treatment is started at the first symptoms, the attack will be less severe and won't last as long.
Your doctor can make a definitive diagnosis of gout through medical history and by checking the uric acid levels in the blood. Treatment generally consists of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, and medications that lower uric acid levels in the blood. Icing the joint can also help reduce the pain and swelling. Your doctor will likely recommend weight loss, limiting foods that can cause flare ups and decreasing alcohol intake.
So, the next time you're tempted by another slice of prime rib, another ladle of gravy, or one more beer, think of your joints, and reach for another helping of veggies instead. Your joints will thank you.Share