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Gout – Cause, Symptoms, and Treatment

Gout is a common type of inflammatory arthritis characterized by sudden and severe pain attacks, swelling, and redness in one or more joints (mainly in the big toe). Mostly the affected joint is hot, swollen, and so tender that even the weight of a small cloth like a bedsheet may appear intolerable. A gout attack can occur suddenly and may wake you up during the middle of the night with a sensation that your big toe is on fire.

If you are interested in knowing more about it and are keen to know its causes, symptoms, and gout treatment options, continue reading this guide until the end. Here we will discuss all the helpful information you need to know about gout.

What is Gout?

Gout is the name given to a sudden intense pain that arises due to higher levels of uric acids in the joints. The pain can be intense and may lead to swelling and redness of the affected joints. The most common areas of gout are; the big toe, ankles, feet, elbows, and knees.

What Causes Gout?

Our body produces uric acid during the breakdown of chemicals called purines found in certain foods and drinks. This by-product goes through the kidneys and leaves the body when we pee. Sometimes our body produces too much uric acid, and the kidneys fail to handle it.

Resultantly, our body has higher levels of uric acid, which leads to a concentration of uric acid crystals in the joints. These sharp and needle-like crystals cause gout. This leads to intense pain and swelling in the joints.

Symptoms of Gout

Usually, the symptoms of gout occur suddenly, especially at night. The following are some of the commonly experienced gout symptoms.

·      Severe Joint Pain

Although gout mainly affects the big toe; however, it can occur in any joint. Some other affected joints include ankles, knees, wrists, elbows, and fingers. The pain is severe and intense, especially during the first 12 hours after it begins.

·      Inflammation

The joints affected by gout become swollen, tender, red, and warm.

·      Range of Motion Gets Limited

One commonly experienced symptom of gout is that your range of motion gets limited, and you experience difficulty in moving your joints normally.

Who Can Get Affected by Gout?

Gout can affect anyone; however, it mostly occurs earlier in men than in women. In women, gout mostly occurs after menopause. Men are three times more likely to get affected than women because they are at higher uric acid levels. Furthermore, the following conditions drastically increase the chances of getting gout.

  • Obesity
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Family history
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Kidney Disease

Also, you are more prone to develop gout if; you intake a diet high in animal proteins or consume higher levels of alcohol.

Gout Treatment

Non-Steroid Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) can help in reducing pain and swelling. However, people with kidney diseases, stomach ulcers, and other health complications cannot take NSAIDs.

Similarly, colchicine and cortisone shots can also help reduce inflammation and pain, provided you take them within 24 hours of a gout attack. Colchicine is given by mouth. On the other hand, cortisone is a potent anti-inflammatory that can cure gout in less than 10 minutes.

Home Remedies for Gout Treatment

Sometimes it becomes very difficult to talk to a physician and get medical treatment. In such a case, you can follow the steps described below to treat gout at home.

  • Applying ice compress to the painful area
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Reducing the consumption of alcohol as it triggers gout attacks
  • Taking OTC pain medications such as ibuprofen or paracetamol

Final Words

Gout is a painful type of arthritis that causes intense pain in the affected area. The most common cause of gout is a higher uric acid level in the body. Some common signs and symptoms of gout are; redness and tenderness in the affected area, intense pain, and lack of mobility. Colchicine and cortisone shot are effective treatment options for gout.

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