This common male arthritis comes about because of excessive uric acid in the blood causing an attack of sudden burning pain, swelling in a joint and stiffness. It is worth noting that having excess uric acid is not harmful and most people do not get gout even though they may have too much of the acid in their blood system. However, gout only arises when such high levels of uric acid form hard crystals in one's joints.
People with high levels of uric acid in their bodies are more at risk of gout than others. Some factors that may increase your risk by increasing uric acid levels include:
- Certain lifestyle factors. Some lifestyle choices such as alcohol consumption
- Medical condition. Some health conditions may increase chances of gout. Examples include, untreated hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and arteriosclerosis
- Certain medication. Medications such as thiazide diuretics, used for hypertension, and low-dose aspirin can raise uric acid levels in the body. Anti-rejection drugs given to those undergoing organ transplant may increase uric acid levels as well
- Family history. If a member of your family has gout, chances are that you may have it too
- Age and sex. Women are most likely targets because they have higher uric acid levels. Moreover, post-menopausal have a higher risk. Men and women are most at risk between ages 40 and 50
An alcoholic, one eating excess meat and fish rich in chemicals called purines, and an overweight are vulnerable to gout. Besides, other medicines that decrease the amount of salt and water in body or aspirin cause gout. Certain conditions like rapid weight loss, high blood pressure or undergoing surgery are among causes of gout.
Intense pain that often starts at night and lasts for hours, extreme tenderness, warmth, swelling usually of one's big toe are signs. Further, the affected joint begin showing very red and purplish skin appearing infected, there is almost no movement in that same joint. Peeling and itching of the skin surrounding the affected joint as the gout gets better.
However, some people having chronic gout may not experience as many painful attacks as they may have gout almost all the time. This is more often than not confused with other forms of arthritis. Gout causes irritation of the fluid sacs that cushion tissues like the elbow and knee, affect the joints of ankles, wrists, knee, and fingers.
Aims of treating gout are to relieve the patient of pain and prevent future gout attacks and other long-term complications like destruction of the joint and kidney. Its treatment also depends on whether one has an acute attack, is managing long-term gout and prevents future attacks.
In acute attacks, rest the affected joint, use ice to reduce swelling and probably use short-term medicines at the first sign of attack as prescribed by general practitioner. However, managing long-term gout and preventing future attacks, requires prescribed medicines for pain, taking necessary steps to reduce the risk of future attacks, managing weight through regular exercises, limiting alcohol consumption, meat and sea food; drink a lot of water and other fluids
Entails controlling weight through eating foods low on fat. Meanwhile, avoid fasting or very low-calorie diet because they increase the amount of uric acid that is a recipe for gout. Follow a reasonable exercise plan limiting alcohol intake. Consequently, limit diets high in meat and seafood or high-purine foods. A general practitioner may also advise on the medicines to take to prevent the condition to avoid raising the uric acid level.
Things that either cause gout or increases vulnerability include: having a family history of gout and being male. Other diseases also affect people who have gout than those without it. Gout therefore, may share risk factors such as obesity and hypertension with other diseases.
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