Gout is a common, painful form of arthritis that can appear suddenly. The first symptoms of gout often consist of severe pain in a joint that can be intensely uncomfortable for hours. After the initial pain has lessened, further discomfort and tenderness can linger for many days or even weeks.
Once someone has suffered an initial gout attack, they are likely to continue experiencing additional attacks in the future. In addition to the inability to predict when a gout attack will occur, those who suffer from this condition are likely to experience uncomfortable after effects, such as inflamed joints and a more limited range of motion.
Understanding how uric acid forms
A flare up of gout occurs when uric acid levels rise, causing urate crystals to be deposited in one or more joints of the body. The formation of uric acid occurs when natural substances called purines are processed in the body.
If uric acid levels are too high for the kidneys to filter out and remove through the urination process, the uric acid that remains settles in or near joints and creates sharp crystals of uric acid that are responsible for the pain and inflammation associated with gout.
Causes and prevention
Since purine intake is known to cause rising uric acid levels in the body, gout sufferers should consider avoiding dietary choices that contain high levels of purine. These include meat, fish, poultry, seafood, some types of alcohol, and processed foods and drinks sweetened with fructose.
In addition to making dietary changes, gout sufferers may find that improving their hydration levels by consuming more water each day is also helpful in limiting gout attacks and their severity.
Since obesity is a known risk factor for the development of gout, taking steps to lose excess weight through healthier dietary choices and exercise is also recommended. Gout is also more likely to strike those with diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and other health conditions.
Some medications are also known to increase levels of uric acid in the body and create a higher risk of developing gout. Some of these medications include thiazide diuretics, low-dose aspirin, and some commonly used anti-rejection drugs used by organ transplant recipients.
Gout attacks both men and women, but men may develop the condition earlier in life due to having naturally higher levels of uric acid in their bodies. Women are more likely to be affected by gout after menopause when their uric acid levels begin to rise.
If you are experiencing severe pain in a joint that you feel may be an attack of gout, making an appointment for diagnosis with a reputable rheumatologist can help you get the relief you need.Share