Gout can be very painful if proper care is not taken. One should stick to a strictly no-alcohol, no-meat diet in order to prevent further uric acid crystals. Learn causes, symptoms, risk factors and prevention tips to avoid it.
Gout is a form of Arthritis. It is caused by the deposition of Uric acid in a joint. Uric acid crystal deposits cause inflammation of the joint leading to pain, redness, heat, and swelling.
It is so prevalent in India that according to a study, by 2025, India will become the capital of Osteoarthritis. Arthritis affects more than 180 million people in India- prevalence higher than many well-known diseases, such as Diabetes, AIDS and Cancer. Further, around 14% of the Indian population seeks a doctors help every year for this joint disease.
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So what causes Gout? Who is most likely to be affected? How do you recognise the symptoms? And what measures can you take to curb it?
Here are 13 things you ought to know about this disease.
What puts me at risk?
1. Eating a Purine-rich diet such as Red meat and seafood increases the risk of Gout. High-fat content foods should be avoided as well.
2. Gout is three times more common in men than in women.
3. If you are Obese and/or a heavy drinker you stand at a higher risk of being affected.
4. Those with a family history of Gout or suffering from chronic conditions like Diabetes or hypertension are also at risk.
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What are some of the tell-tale signs?
1. Intense joint pain especially of the 'Big toe'. Pain can also affect the ankles, knees, elbows, wrists and fingers.
2. The affected joint becomes red, hot, tender and swollen.
3. The appearance of (usually painless) nodules/ swellings under the skin. These are called tophi and are deposits of Urate crystals.
Whats the treatment for Gout?
If you do see any of the above signs or symptoms, visit a physician/rheumatologist. A blood test might reveal higher values of Uric acid. Patients with Gout often suffer from acute pain attacks in the joint. However, with medicines and changes in lifestyle, these attacks can be prevented.
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There are primarily two kinds of medications for Gout:
1. Medications advised for acute pain are Colchicine and Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen & Naproxen
2. Medications like Allopurinol and Febuxostat that lower the level of Uric acid.
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I dont have Gout! How can I keep it at bay?
A healthy and active lifestyle may prevent the occurrence of Gout. Heres what you can do to avoid it.
1. Drink plenty of water. At least 3 litres every day.
2. Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.
3. Eat less of purine-rich food and more of Vitamin C rich food.
4. Reduce/stop consumption of alcohol and carbonated drinks.
Gout is usually caused by certain lifestyle choices over a period of time. The experience is not just a painful one but can also lead to other complications like the erosion of the joints or even kidney stones. Medications provide relief but may lead to increased dependency. So, avoid gout by taking a pledge to #Live Better.
Must read about - Kidney Stones Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment
Article by Dr. Vighnesh Y, M.D (Internal Medicine, Dip. Rheumatology)
Consultant Physician, CallHealth