How Do you know If you have Gout?
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Do you enjoy consuming red meat, beer, red wine, excessive amounts of alcohol, rich sauces, seafood, organ meats, anchovies, herring, asparagus, and/or mushrooms? If so, you may be at risk of getting a gout attack. What exactly is gout?
Gout, a kind of arthritis, is caused by a build-up of sharp, needle-shaped urate crystals in the joint. These crystals are responsible for the pain and inflammation connected with this condition. The increase in deposits is caused by raised uric acid levels in the bloodstream. The foods listed above are rich in purines, which are also naturally found in the body, and these purines are usually broken down to uric acid. Under normal circumstances, uric acid is excreted through the kidneys and urine. When the body produces a lot of uric acid, a person consumes too much purines in their diet or the renal system are not properly removing enough uric acid, there is an excessive amount of uric acid leading to a gout attack.
How Would You Know If You Have Gout?
Typical display includes a person who wakes up in the middle of the night or in the morning with a sudden onset of a red, hot, swollen joint with no preceding injury or trauma. Gout most commonly affects the big toe joint in the foot. However, it can also affect other joints such as the midfoot, ankle, knee, elbow, hands and also wrists. At first with the first or second gout strike, the joint will appear normal on a standard X-ray. However over time with frequent gout episodes, the affected joint will have limited motion, a bony prominence and will seem as a damaged joint (arthritis) on an X-ray.
Who is At Risk?
Men have a higher rate of sustaining a gout attack yet menopausal women are also vulnerable to this painful condition. Also those with uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, increased cholesterol levels and heart disease are also susceptible to gout. Medications such as diuretics as well as low-dose aspirin also increase uric acid levels. Finally, a purine-rich diet of the above mentioned foods and excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a gout attack. Therefore, avoidance includes limiting purine ingestion in the diet, limiting alcohol consumption, and being healthy and active.
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How is It Treated?
You have the symptoms of a sudden onset of a red, hot, swollen joint, call your doctor immediately. In the event that you have the attack in the base or perhaps ankle, call your local podiatrist but if in some other joints, you should call you primary care doctor, orthopedist or rheumatologist. When left untreated, you could produce organization nodules called tophi under the skin or kidney stones. Your doctor will take an X-ray of the joint, but as mentioned most likely the films will be normal especially with the first or second attack.
Blood Testing for Uric Acid is Unreliable for Gout
Definitive evidence of gout involves acquiring joint fluid and having it analyzed for the presence of the urate crystals. Treatment consists of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), a cortisone injection, oral steroidal medicines, and/or a medication called colchicine. If you experience recurrent gout attacks, you may be prescribed Allopurinol or Probenicid - long-term medications just to stop future gout attacks.
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