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Gout is a common form of arthritis that is caused by having high level of uric acid in the blood. This occurs when an over abundance of protein-rich foods are consumed.
People with gout are more likely to be obese and/or have diabetes or high blood pressure. They are also at high risk of heart disease.
Gout can also be caused as a complication of another illness, such as leukemia or metabolic syndrome. High alcohol consumption can also increase your chances of getting gout.
How do you know if you have gout, and how do you treat it?
Symptoms of Gout
In 75% of cases, gout first presents itself with burning pain, swelling, and redness in the big toe.
Gout causes crystals to form inside the joint, causing extreme pain upon movement.
The swelling and tenderness is so intense, it causes pain when the joint is even lightly touched.
Gout also presents itself in other joints such as the ankle, heel, instep, knee, wrist, elbows, fingers, and spine.
Still, gout is somewhat difficult to diagnose as it can be confused with similar ailments.
Once such condition is chondrocalcinosis, which causes calcium to form in the joints (instead of acid crystals).
A doctor must use an ultrasound or aspirate fluid from the joint in order to make a diagnosis.
In extreme cases, joint deformity can happen and growth called tophi can form on the bone.
Gout Treatments & Home Remedies
Because gout is so painful, the first course of action is to provide pain relief and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Corticosteroid injections are sometimes used to treat gout as well.
In some cases, surgery is necessary to remove the growths.
Home remedies for gout (for minor attacks) include ibuprofen for pain, and Preparation H or ice to reduce swelling.
There are a number of natural products you can try as well.
Another common home remedy for gout is baking soda.
However, there are some pros and cons to high levels of baking soda intake, so be sure to consult with a doctor who knows your health history first.
How To Prevent Gout
Since it is hard to predict if you will get gout, the onset of a gout attack is difficult to prevent.
Once you know that you are prone to gout however, there are steps you can (and should) take to lessen to condition.
A person who is prone to gout may want to try prescription medicines called xanthine-oxidase inhibitors.
Gout sufferers should also:
- reduce the protein in their diet (view low-protein diet options)
- increase their consumption of foods known to lower uric acid in the blood (view the list of good foods for gout)
- avoid foods that act as diuretics (view the list of bad foods for gout)
Anyone who suffers from gout should drink plenty of liquids all the time — not just when the gout flares up.
More About Gout
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