Gout is a common and painful form of arthritis. It causes swelling, redness, heat and stiffness in the joints.
Gout occurs when uric acid builds up in the blood. Uric acid results from the breakdown of substances called purines. Purines are found in all tissues of the body. They are also found in many foods such as liver, dried beans and peas, and anchovies. Normally, uric acid dissolves in the blood, passes through the kidneys and leaves the body in the urine. But sometimes uric acid can build up in needle-shaped crystals. When it forms in the joints, it is very painful. Crystals can also cause kidney stones.
Often, the first attack of gout occurs in the big toe. It can also affect the ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers and elbows. At first, gout attacks get better within a few days. Over time, the attacks last longer and happen more often.
A person is more likely to have gout if he is:
Is a men;
Have a family history of gout;
Eat a lot of foods high in purines;
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Gout can be difficult to diagnose. Your doctor may take a sample of fluid from inflamed joints to check for crystals. Gout can be treated with medication.
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In addition to the symptoms outlined above, the specialist performs various diagnostic tests such as a blood test to check uric acid levels in the blood. However, it is worth noting that in many cases, when there is an attack of gout, the blood levels are fine. Therefore, the expert may take a sample of fluid from one of the affected areas to check in the laboratory for uric acid crystals.
Some of the pathologies that the patient may suffer from, together with certain habits, increase the risk of suffering from this ailment. Therefore, there are factors that increase the risk of suffering from gout as they raise the level of uric acid. These are some of them:
High blood pressure;
Renal insufficiency, the kidneys do not eliminate waste products properly;
Eating foods rich in purines, as this substance is converted into uric acid when it is broken down.
Having relatives with the disease, i.e. the genetic factor plays a role.
Having hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid gland.
Suffering from a medical problem that causes the cells to reproduce or be eliminated faster than usual, such as psoriasis, haemolytic anaemia or cancer.
Taking diuretic drugs due to high blood pressure or coronary problems.
Obesity and overweight.
The most frequent symptoms that can indicate that the patient suffers from gout are:
The appearance of pain in a joint of the foot. This pain appears suddenly. Patients often say phrases such as “I went to bed well and I woke up unable to walk”, “the friction of the sheet bothers me”, etc.
The pain increases at night. The pain is always worse at night because the joints, being at rest, are at a lower temperature.
The affected area has an unusual appearance. The area is usually warm, reddened, sometimes swollen and stiff, with a lack of mobility.
Treatment can be based on different types of medication and consists of reducing the pain of gout attacks, helping to prevent and avoid irreversible damage to the joints. The aim is to lower the levels of uric acid in the blood, and here are some recommendations:
– Make an early diagnosis. To do this, it is necessary to see a specialist to prescribe the appropriate treatment, as there may be, as we have said, collateral damage to the kidneys and/or coronary arteries, with a greater chance of suffering vascular problems that may affect the heart and brain.
A SPECIALISED PODIATRIST WILL ASSESS EARLY TREATMENT FOR RELIEF OR ANALGESIA.
– Take care of your diet and lifestyle, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle. It is important to eat a diet low in purines and reduced in salt to prevent the kidneys from working too hard. For this reason, here are some dietary recommendations:
Foods rich in purines such as red meat, sausages, offal, oily fish, seafood or cured cheese.
Vegetables such as tomatoes, asparagus, spinach and peppers.
Alcohol (including beer) and sugary drinks.
It is good to eat:
Fruits such as cherries, bananas, apples, lemons and oranges.
Vegetables containing apigenin such as celery, onions and garlic, among others. Some medicinal plants also contain this substance, such as camomile, horsetail and thyme, which is why it is advisable to drink these infusions.
Drink plenty of water.
Following this advice will help the patient to avoid gout as far as possible. However, certain facts should be kept in mind when discussing this problem:
In general, an attack of gout usually gets better within 5 to 10 days.
People who have had gout in the past are likely to get gout again after a few months or years. In addition, these repeated attacks may last longer and occur more often.
If left untreated, gout is very likely to progress and produce permanent pain in the joints and may damage the kidneys.