Gout is a complex form of inflammatory arthritis which results in sudden onset of pain, swelling, redness and tenderness of the joints, specifically the joint of the big toe.
The attack can be very severe, often waking you up in the middle of the night with burning sensation and feel as your big toe is on fire. The affected joint is hot, swollen and tender.
Gout develops when the urate crystal builds up in the joints, resulting in inflammation and extreme pain. Urate crystals form when the blood level of uric acid is high. The body makes it own uric acid when it breaks down purine the substance naturally found in the body.
Some of the food sources are also abundant in purines include red meat, seafood, alcoholic beverages and sugar-loaded drinks with high fructose levels promote to the build-up of high levels of uric acid.
Generally, uric acid is dissolved in the blood and excreted by the kidneys, but sometimes either the body secretes more uric acids, or the kidneys excrete less uric acid, this results in the building up of sharp needle-like urate crystals in the joints and surrounding tissue.
Certain factors contribute to the risk of gout which includes a diet high in purine, genetic, obesity, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases and long-term use of certain medications.
- Extreme pain in the joint, big toe, knee, wrist, elbow, fingers and ankles
- Swollen, tender, warm, red and inflamed joints
- Limiting the range of mobility
Diagnosis And Treatment
Doctors generally recommend certain blood tests and procedures to diagnose gout which includes a joint fluid blood test, the blood level of uric acid, X-ray, ultrasound and dual-energy CT scan.
Treatment of gout usually involves taking prescription medications and over the counter anti-inflammatory medications to prevent acute and future attacks of gout.
However certain lifestyle modifications can be an effective way to treat acute episodes of gout and lower the severity. This includes restricting the intake of alcoholic beverages, high fructose juices, red meat, organ meat and seafood.
Regular workout helps in reducing body weight which may greatly assist in lowering the risk of gout.