Get the Facts About Gout
Gout is characterized by needle-like stones forming in a joint. When uric acid in the blood gets to a high level, this type of inflammatory arthritis can occur.
In the United States, approximately four percent of adults experience this condition. Men are affected more often than women, with about six million men affected and approximately two million women.
Gout generally comes on quite suddenly without an indication that it will occur. Hyperuricemia results in gout. Uric acid is the result of purines being broken down by the body. Purines, which are a type of colorless crystalline compound, are found within various foods and types of human cells. The blood picks up the uric acid and sends it to the kidneys where it is to be excreted. However, for some people, uric acid is not excreted efficiently or their body produces an excess amount, allowing it to accumulate in the body.
Gout is generally quite painful, altering a person’s mobility and function. When a person has gout, they may experience:
- Intense joint pain is common. The big toe is most often affected, but the ankles, elbows, fingers, knees and wrists are also commonly attacked by gout. The pain tends to be the worst within the first 12 hours of an attack starting.
- Redness and inflammation causing the affected joint to be swollen, warm, tender and red.
- The pain and discomfort can linger for up to a few weeks.
- Limited range of motion in the affected joint.
Gout generally occurs in stages. The first stage is the period prior to the attack. The crystals are starting to form, but there are no symptoms. The second stage is the acute attack. The symptoms are at their worst. The third stage is the time in between two attacks. It is estimated that up to 60 percent of patients will have a second attack within a year. Within three years, approximately 84 percent of patients will have a second attack. The fourth stage is chronic gout. This is seen in those whose uric acid levels remained elevated for several years. Irreversible joint damage is possible when gout becomes chronic.
Home Remedies for Gout
Working on developing a healthier lifestyle is important for managing gout and preventing future attacks. Start by limiting foods that tend to be high in purines, such as:
- Organ meats and red meats
- Sugary drinks
- Alcoholic beverages
The following foods are considered to be part of a gout-healthy diet:
- Low-fat dairy foods
- Plant oils
- Fruits that are less sweet
- Whole grain foods
- All vegetables
Being overweight is a risk factor for gout and repeated gout attacks. Because of this, shedding excess pounds and being physically active can be beneficial.
Some research shows that eating more fresh cherries might be beneficial for reducing uric acid levels. Some experts have also discussed cherry extract. However, patients taking prescription medications should first check to ensure there will be no interaction.
Vitamin C may also decrease uric acid levels. This could potentially aid in preventing an initial attack from occurring when someone has high uric acid levels. It is important that if patients opt to take a supplement that it is high in quality.
Gout can certainly be uncomfortable. Should patients experience it, they should not delay in getting started with the treatment process. This can aid patients in feeling better as soon as possible.