Have you ever heard of gout? It’s not surprising as many people don’t realise that gout is still a common problem many Australians experience, especially in old age.
That’s why the experts atHouse Call Doctor have put together a list of everything you need to know about gout and how to manage it.
What is gout?
Gout is a common type of arthritis that causes inflammation, joint pain, redness, and swelling. It occurswhen uric acid accumulates usually in one joint and crystals forms.
Uric acid is made by your body to break down some foods that contain a substance called purines. Normally the body dissolves the acid, but sometimes if too much is made, it can build up in the blood causing what is known as hyperuricaemia.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will develop gout as there are many other factors including genetics that are involved.
Who is at risk?
There are a few risk factors for gout such as:
- Having a history of the condition
- Having high cholesterol or blood pressure
- Suffering from type 2 diabetes.
- Fasting or using a crash diet
- Being overweight or obese
- Being male
- Already have high levels of uric acid in your bloodstream
- Eating foods rich in purines such as meant, shellfish, and fructose
It’s important to be aware of any signs that you may have gout so you can consult with a doctor and seek treatment if necessary.
Common symptoms of gout include:
- Severe, and often sudden pain in a joint (this is especially common in the middle of the night or early morning)
- Stiffness in the joint
- Tenderness in the joint (also often warm to the touch and red or purple in colour).
The big toe is a very common place for gout, and although it usually only affects one joint, if left untreated it can also affect other joints including the knee, ankle or elbow.
The first 36 hours of gout are typically the most painful and any flare-ups can last up to 10 days.
There are a few medicines that treat gout and lower the amount of uric acid that’s in your blood stream. The type of medicine you receive will depend on factors like if you’ve had kidney stones, experienced multiple gout attacks, or suffered from other health conditions like kidney disease.
The medication that you take will either reduce the inflammation and pain of gout or lower the levels of uric acid.
How can I prevent gout?
You can prevent gout by:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Drinking lots of water
- Avoid foods that contain high levels of purines
- Avoid binge drinking alcohol
If you feel like you’re suffering from gout, seek medical attention.