Gout attacks are caused by an excess of uric acid in the body, which leads to the build-up of flare-triggering uric acid crystals around the joints. Learn more about. Gout attacks often wake people up in the middle of the night, causing excruciating pain and tenderness. If there are measures you could take to avoid this fate. 'Disease of kings' is on the rise as more people get gout because of the fact that a patient is obese may cause offence at a later date if the.
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Flares usually come with the following symptoms; Intense pain around the affected joints Swelling of the joints Redness Heat and tenderness Sometimes gout may develop into more severe complications like kidney stones in case uric acid crystals accumulate in the urinary tract and recurrent gout with regular recurrences that cause more and more damage to the specific joints and tissues surrounding them.
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What are the causes of gout? Gout is caused by renal under-excretion of uric acid; a condition called hyperuricemia.
The breakdown of purines found in the body and foods you take is what results in uric acid, and excessive accumulation of this acid in the body may build up in the joints, tissues and body fluids over time. The build-up of uric acid in the body, however, does not always cause gout and in such cases, no treatment may be needed.
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There are five different stages of gout as its severity progresses. The various stages are classified as different types of gout.
Asymptomatic hyperuricemia This stage involves elevated levels of uric acid in the body without showing any outward symptoms. No treatment may be required at this stage but, continued accumulation of the acid may result in minor damages to specific joints. It is only advisable for people with this type of gout to avoid possible risk factors that may aggravate the condition due to the build-up of uric acid. Acute Gout During this stage, accumulated uric acid crystals in the joints suddenly start causing intense pain, and inflammation.
Stress, excessive alcohol consumption, cold weather and specific drugs can trigger the flares during this stage. The next flares may take months or even years before occurring. However, if not treated and managed well, they may occur more frequently and take longer to diminish. There is more accumulation of uric acid crystals during this stage.
Chronic tophaceous gout This is a severe type of gout probably resulting in permanent damages to the kidneys and joints. This may further result in chronic arthritis and development of big lumps, urate crystals and tophi around the colder parts of the body especially the finger joints.
Usually, it takes long periods of no treatment to get to this stage- roughly ten years.
With proper treatment, it is not likely for a patient to progress to this stage Pseudogout This condition exhibits same symptoms as gout but, not indeed gout.
In this condition, joints get irritated by the accumulation of calcium crystals instead of uric acid. The condition thus requires a different type of treatment. Which are the risk factors for gout?
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As earlier mentioned, accumulation of uric acid does not necessarily cause gout. However, the risk factors below increase your chances of developing hyperuricemia causing gout.
Obesity— in a research study conducted to determine the association and prevalence of gout among obese people in the US, it was concluded that overweight and obese adults both men and women were more prevalent to suffer from gout.
Specific health conditions like high blood pressurediabetesmetabolic syndromekidney failurecardiovascular disease and insulin resistance Tumor lysis syndrome— this is a rapid release of intracellular content into the bloodstream and possibility of multiple organ damages leading to renal failure, pulmonary edema and eventual death as a result of certain cancers and chemotherapy treatments.
Studies have revealed a close relationship between tumor lysis syndrome and elevated uric acid levels responsible for gout development. Psoriasis— this is a condition that causes scales, dry and itchy patches on the skin. A study reveals that high levels of serum uric acid are often detected in psoriasis patients.
This indicates that the condition is directly associated with gout. Food and drinks with high fructose volumes— the modern society is full of sugar-sweetened and higher fructose-quantity beverages.
The effects of such additives have been studied to determine their relation with gout. Earlier studies indicated an elevated plasma uric acid and lactate levels driven by purine nucleotide or de novo purine synthesis. Purine-rich foods-sea food, meat, animal protein and some vegetables are known to be highly rich in purines and thus associated with gout development.
It's true that gout often first attacks the joints of the big toe, but it can also occur in the knees, ankles, feet and hands. In women with osteoarthritis, for example, gout pain commonly starts in the small joints of the hands.
Although the first attacks often involve only one or two joints, over time multiple joints become affected. If the disease isn't treated, it can cause permanent damage. If you stay away from liver and alcohol, you'll avoid gout attacks. Alcoholic drinks — especially beer — and organ meats such as liver and some fish, including anchovies and sardines, are very high in a class of natural substances known as purines.
When the body breaks down purines it creates uric acid, so eating a lot of purine-rich foods does increase the risk of an attack. But while avoiding these foods may reduce attacks, it won't halt them, says Reveille. Photo by Corbis Gout can be life threatening if left untreated. Gout is painful, but it won't kill you. Gout can't kill you directly, but it can cause serious health problems that may eventually kill you, says Robert Keenan, M.
It can increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke, and it also may be linked to insulin resistance, the body's shrinking ability to use insulin to lower blood sugar.
If gout is untreated, you can develop clumps of uric acid crystals called tophi, which can become infected and life threatening. Photo by Getty Images There are prescription drugs that can treat gout. There aren't effective medicines for gout. Many medications put the brakes on gout. Some control pain and inflammation immediately and others get at the root cause by eliminating the deposited uric acid crystals.
Colchicine Colcrys is prescribed for acute gout flare-ups. A plant extract, it's been used to treat gout for 2, years, says Reveille. Colchicine works within several minutes to several hours to block gout inflammation. The sooner you start it, the more likely the attack will resolve quickly. An injected steroid also tackles inflammation, usually controlling pain and swelling within 24 hours.
Prescription drugs such as allopurinol Lopurin, Zyloprimfebuxostat Uloric and probenecid Benemid all alleviate gout by controlling blood levels of uric acid.
Also, two years ago the FDA approved an intravenous drug for people with advanced gout — pegloticase Krystexxa — that lowers uric acid levels and reduces deposits of uric acid crystals in the joints and soft tissue.
Most people who have gout will need to be on a uric-acid-lowering drug for life, usually just one or two pills a day, says George Washington University's Baraf.
Photo by Getty Images Changing your diet can help reduce the frequency of gout attacks. Once you've got gout, lifestyle changes don't really help.