Gout is a form of arthritis. People with Gout experience sudden severe attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. Usually the base of the big toe is affected. Gout can affect anyone, but men are more susceptible. Women are more prone to experience Gout after menopause. Gout is very painful and the affected joint is swollen, hot, and tender. It is so painful that the weight of your sock will seem intolerable. Gout is treatable and there are ways to prevent Gout from recurring.
There are risk factors that increase the uric acid levels in the body. They are lifestyle factors, alcohol use, certain medical conditions, untreated high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, and arteriosclerosis. Also certain medications can be a risk factor such as low-dose asprin, diuretics used to treat high blood pressure, and some anti-rejection drugs prescribed to people who are undergoing an organ transplant. Family history and age are also risk factors.
A Gout attack can occur when urate crystals build up around the joint. This is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is naturally produced by the body when it breaks down purines. Purines are substances that are found naturally in your body as well as in certain foods such as liver, anchovies, herring, asparagus, and mushrooms. The body dissolves uric acid in the blood and then it passes through the kidneys into the urine. Sometimes the body may produce to much uric acid or the kidneys may excrete to little. This can then cause the uric acid to build up.
Complications of Gout can include recurrent Gout, advanced Gout, and kidney stones. There are preventive measures that you can take to keep Gout from recurring. They are medications prescribed by the doctor, diet, limiting and avoiding alcohol, drinking plenty of water, and limiting the intake of meat, fish, or poultry. Low fat dairy products have been known to have a protective effect against Gout.
If you have diabetes and are experiencing symptoms of Gout, make sure you tell your doctor or schedule an appointment as soon as possible. You may obtain more information on diet and how to prevent Gout from recurring by contacting the American Dietetic Association.