You suffer from gout and believe this is a permanent condition you simply have to bear? Read our article on how to effectively treat gout and take decisive steps to improve your quality of life and relieve gout pain.
While gout is often referred to as the “Disease of the Kings” since even the notorious Henry VIII suffered from it, the fact that they share this painful infliction with such famous historic personalities which also included Leonardo Da Vinci and Benjamin Franklin, is a poor consolation for the sufferers.
However, the most surprising fact is that despite all the available information today, many of those who suffer from gout believe this is a permanent condition which they have to bear as best they can. This is a dangerous myth and consequences are not just evident in poorer life quality but life in pain which can, in more serious cases, be excruciating.
In this article, we shall cover the essential questions and misconceptions connected with this complex and painful form of arthritis. Most notably the prevalent attitude that gout, once it affects the person, is a lifelong struggle. Additionally, we shall also offer sage advice which can help in prevention which is, as the old saying goes, the best medication in the first place.
What is Gout and How do You Get it?
The simplest definition of gout is that this is one of the most severe and painful forms of arthritis. The reason why people get affected by gout is due to the fact that uric acid builds up in the body. The uric acid is present in the human body, in the blood to be more precise, but it is when the levels exceed what is considered to be the norm (6.5 mg/dl) that problems begin to appear. Usually, uric acid is broken down in the blood which then goes through the kidneys and it exits the body via urine.
Yet, when this process is broken the uric acid builds up, forming urate crystals in the tissue which surrounds the joints. This causes the joints to become inflamed, swollen and extremely painful which often limits movement and disrupts normal day-to-day activities for those affected by it.
Naturally, there are factors which contribute to the development of gout and unsuitable diet which is high in red meat, seafood, alcohol and fructose-sweetened beverages is among the leading causes. Hence, the “disease of the kings” since only affluent people could afford such rich food in the past. Nowadays, with the advancement of technology and the standard of living, gout is on the rise.
Other causes which may also lead to gout include obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, family history of gout infliction as well as sex and age, as gout is more likely to happen to men who are between 30 – 50 years of age.
Female population is also liable to be affected by gout, however, this happens more frequently after menopause.
Is Gout a Serious Disease?
Another disturbing fact is that many people, even those who suffer from occasional bouts of gout, do not think gout is a serious disease. And while it is true that gout may appear only once and never again, it is very dangerous not to seek medical help and promptly start with the suitable gout treatment.
Complications which may develop if gout is not treated is the recurring gout attack which may happen several times per year and which slowly, but inevitably, causes joint erosion and destruction.
Long-term neglect and failure to seek gout treatment can lead to advanced cases of gout which are often characterized by deposits of urate crystals under the skin. These deposits are called tophi and are usually formed in areas like feet, elbow, fingers, hands, ankles and Achilles tendons.
Accordingly, those who suffer from gout but do not look for appropriate treatment risk developing kidney stones due to the constant collection of urate crystals in the urinary tract.
What Joints are Affected by Gout?
Another common misconception is that gout only affects the big toe.
While this joint is more often affected since crystallization process requires colder temperatures, other joints such as elbows, fingers, and wrists could also be affected by gout pain.
Sadly, as joints are essential when it comes to movement, sufferers are often limited in their physical activity which leads to decreased quality of life.
How is Gout Treated?
On the other hand, there are ways to both treat gout pain but also to take steps in preventing the development of gout in the first place.
For those who have already experienced gout, the first step is to seek treatment and gout pain relief. The medication which is usually prescribed to combat often excruciating pain sufferers experience, is ibuprofen such as Advil or Motrin IB.
Other medication may also include indomethacin Indocin or celecoxib Celebrex. Alternatively, it is also possible to use naproxen sodium like Aleve as gout pain relief.
Naturally, there are other drugs such as Mitigare or Colcrys which are certain to treat gout pain effectively, but which have serious side-effects such as vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
Corticosteroids could also be prescribed to relieve gout pain and inflammation, but this type of drug could cause side-effects like increased levels of blood sugar, higher blood pressure or mood swings.
Treat Your Gout Effectively!
Though mainstream medication is effective in treating gout, some sufferers might prefer alternative solutions such as particular foods which are known to reduce uric acid levels. Interestingly enough, coffee is one such solution as studies have shown the correlation between coffee intake (regular as well as decaffeinated) and lower uric acid.
The same is true for Vitamin C and increased consumption of cherries. However, we also advise all those who suffer from gout to discuss these alternative treatments with their physician first.
Lastly, as we have already pointed out – prevention is the best medication.
In this case, that means introducing changes to the daily diet or, perhaps, even a complete lifestyle overhaul. Suggested lifestyle for those seeking to either prevent gout or to relieve gout pain/attacks includes maintaining a healthy body weight and exercising regularly as well as eating a balanced diet which contains low intake of red meat, seafood, alcoholic or fructose-sweetened beverages. Instead, it is advised to drink plenty of water and increase the consumption of organic vegetables and fruits.
Gout, if untreated, can become a serious illness and sufferers could end up with permanent health consequences. However, in taking steps to either prevent this painful ailment from ever happening or, alternatively, seeking immediate help if it does appear, a lot can be done to help the inflicted.
From proper medication to alternative medicine and lifestyle changes, gout is not only treatable but can be prevented from ever happening again.
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