Gout is a form of arthritis characterized by an abrupt attack of burning pain, swelling and stiffness in a joint, usually the big toe. These episodes can occur continuously unless gout is treated. Over time, the joints, tendons and other tissues are damaged.
Possible causes of gout
Gout develops if excess uric acid builds up in the blood. In most cases, the excess uric acid is not injurious. Many individuals with elevated levels in the bloodstream do not develop the condition. On the other hand, if the levels in the blood are too high, the uric acid might form hardened crystals in the joints.
The possibility of developing gout is high if an individual is overweight, excessive intake of alcohol or eating too much fish and meat containing high amounts of purines. Certain medications such as diuretics can also trigger its development.
What are the indications?
The usual indication of gout is the night time attack of swelling, redness, tenderness and piercing pain in the big toe.
An individual can experience gout attacks in the ankle, foot or knees as well as the other joints. These episodes can last for a few days or several weeks before the pain settles. Another attack might not occur for months or years.
The doctor can administer a shot of corticosteroids or prescribe a large daily dosage of one or several medications to stop an attack. The doses are reduced as the symptoms settle. Relief from a gout attack often starts within 24 hours if treatment is started early.
You can alleviate the pain during an attack by allowing the affected joint to rest. You can provide a pain medication or another anti-inflammatory drug. Aspirin is not recommended since it can worsen the condition by increasing the level of uric acid in the blood.
Future attacks can be prevented by medications prescribed by the doctor that minimizes the buildup of uric acid in the blood.
It is vital to pay close attention to the diet to help manage the condition. It is recommended to consume moderate amounts of various healthy foods to control the weight and get all the essential nutrients. Try to limit the daily intake of seafood, meat and alcoholic beverages. In addition, drink more water and other fluids.