How to tell if you have Gout
Gout is a very painful arthritic-like disease that typically attacks your big toe leading to swelling, intense pain, and immobility. Here’s a quick way to tell if you are suffering from gout.
Things You’ll Need:
Humility (realizing you have gout can be embarrassing)
Quick Action (to the doctor) to get medicine straight away!
IS YOUR FOOT ABSOLUTELY KILLING YOU AND YOU DON’T KNOW WHY?
The onset of gout typically takes place during the middle of the night. If you wake up feeling serious pain in one of your extremities (most commonly your big toe) and cannot think of any reason why it hurts so much, you may be suffering from gout. When it first happened to me, I thought I banged my foot against a steel table leg but had no memory of it.
DOES YOUR TOE LOOK ABOUT THREE TIMES ITS NORMAL SIZE?
The next day after the first attack of gout, the affected area (again, usually your big toe) will begin to swell and turn red. Extremely sensitive to touch at this point, your toe will be immobile and getting it into your shoe can be one of the most excruciatingly painful experiences of your life. When my own toe started to swell, I nearly passed out.
THINK ABOUT YOUR DIET – ALCOHOL? RED MEAT?
People who are pre-disposed to suffering from gout have to control their diet very carefully. Gout is the result of an excess amount of uric acid accumulating in the body, which of course comes from the foods we eat. If you have a diet heavy in red meat and alcohol, the likelihood of retaining more uric acid in your blood is more likely. Of course, there are other factors, but many doctors believe that avoiding certain meats and alcohols (especially beer) can help prevent future gout attacks.
FAMILY HISTORY OF GOUT?
If anyone in your family is known to have had gout, it is likely that you are genetically wired to suffer from gout. In my case, I heard that nearly every male on my mother’s side of the family suffered from gout at some point in their lives, so when I went in to get treatment, the doctor was not surprised at all to hear that my uncles had similar fates.
IF YOU ANSWERED YES TO STEPS 1-3 YOU PROBABLY HAVE GOUT
If you are feeling intense, striking pain in your toe, have maintained a diet heavy in red meat, and have a family history of gout, you are most probably experiencing your first acute attack of gout. Do not feel too down on yourself; gout is common and can be treated quickly to give you relief from the pain.
GO TO THE DOCTOR TO GET TREATED ASAP
The doctor will likely prescribe you with indomethacin, or another Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to reduce the swelling in your toe and provide pain relief. He will also likely give you a guide of foods to eat and avoid to help reduce your level of uric acid in your blood to prevent future episodes. If you are still in pain after visiting your doctor and the gout refused to go away, ask to see a specialist. Extreme cases of gout left untreated can lead to permanent tissue and joint damage in your foot. Good luck!
Tips & Warnings
Use the web to find information on what foods to avoid going forward. You can still enjoy certain foods rich in purines/uric acid, but should be done in moderation. Check out: http://arthritis.about.com/cs/gout/a/foodstoavoid.htm
Gout left untreated can lead to permanent damage. Please see your doctor right away if you show the symptoms. You likely are unable to walk very well so ask a friend to be with you. Treated quickly and with proper medication, you will be relived of this painful affliction in just a few days. Hang in there!