What Is Gout – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Gout, also known as “gouty arthritis”, is a painful form of arthritis caused by excessive uric acid in the body. 

Once one patient visited me with complaints of pain in his big toe. he said his toes were red, painful and so swollen he could not dare put shoes on. he said as soon as his feet touch the floor he was screaming in pain.

I can verify that gout is a very painful disease. This is also not the first time I have seen him in pain.

With the fast-moving world, and continuous improvement of living standards, people have more and more choices in diet, desserts, fried chicken, barbecue, etc. are all popular foods. But what many people don’t know is that these foods are high-purine foods. Long-term excessive intake is likely to cause us to experience elevated uric acid levels. If the uric acid level is high, the risk of gout will also increase.

The increase of uric acid in the body will not only cause the appearance of gout but also affect the blood vessels and kidneys to different degrees. In severe cases, it will even damage the normal metabolism of blood sugar in the body and cause the occurrence of diabetes symptoms.

It is a common form of inflammatory arthritis that attacks more males than females, due to higher levels of uric acid in the blood. Unfortunately, after menopause, women develop an increase in uric acid and are more likely to develop gout.

Younger people can also develop the disease and when they do they are at a higher risk of developing blood clots. The deposition of urate crystals in the blood is implicated in the formation of clots.

During the regular Blood investigation, you will find that there is a column of uric acid value in Blood investigation. When the value for men exceeds 7 and the value for women exceeds 6, it means that uric acid is high. And now one out of ten people has high uric acid, so high uric acid has become the fourth highest after hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and hyperglycemia.

Causes Of Gout

Diet: Foods rich in purines such as cooked or processed food from animal and seafood origin are a key element of increasing uric acid precursors. They are:

  • Red meat
  • Fish
  • Alcohol 

Endogenous urate production: Turnover of urate crystals increases in the following conditions:

  • Chronic hemolytic anemia
  • Haemoglobinopathies
  • Secondary polycythemia
  • Thalassemia
  • Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency,
  • Lesch-Nyhan syndrome
  • Malignancies (cancer)
  • Lead poisoning

Drugs: Some drugs are linked with the overproduction of uric acid. These include:

  • Diuretics
  • Low dose salicylates
  • Pyrazinamide
  • Ethambutol
  • Cytotoxics

Decreased excretion of uric acid

Most urate excretion occurs in the kidneys while the rest is excreted through the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Reduced renal excretion is seen in the following:

  • Hypertension
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Chronic renal disease

What are some symptoms of gout?

  • People complain of sudden “flares” or attacks of severe pain, most often in the area of the big toe, ankle, or knee.
  • Sometimes the joint becomes red and swollen. 
  • Only one joint is generally affected at any given time, though some people can present with pain in multiple joints simultaneously.
  • Gout flares tend to happen more often during the night.
  • The pain from gout can be extreme. The pain and swelling are worst at the beginning of a gout flare. The symptoms then get better within a few days to weeks. It is not clear how the body “turns off” a gout flare.

Is there a test for gout?

Yes. To be tested, a sample of fluid from the affected joint is taken. If typical gout crystals are in the fluid, then you are diagnosed with gout. A simple blood test can also confirm the presence of gout.

Conventional Medicines used for Gout

  • NSAIDs — Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs — This group of medicines are anti-inflammatory medicines but do not contain steroids.NSAIDs may not be safe for those with kidney or liver disease or bleeding problems.
  • Colchicine — This medicine helps with gout but it can also cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
  • Steroids — are by nature anti-inflammatory but long-term use can have unpleasant side effects, like weight gain, increasing blood glucose, etc. They reduce swelling and pain

Homeopathic Treatment  for Gout 

  • Homeopathic management has adequate potential in not only alleviating the serum uric acid in gout but also a significant role in improving the well-being, activity, and quality of life of patients with gout, without any adverse effects
  • With homeopathic treatment, the relapse of complaints is very minimal.
  • Homeopathic medicine work by reducing uric acid overproduction by the body and accelerating the removal of this waste product through the kidneys.

Foods you should avoid in gout 

  • Red meats, beef.
  • Seafood and shellfish.
  • Alcohol including wine.
  • Beans and peas.
  • Few vegetables, eg: spinach, asparagus, mushrooms

Other ways to prevent gout flares

  1. Losing weight.
  2. Be mindful of foods that contain uric acid.
  3. Avoid alcohol and sugars.
  4. Keep hydrated.

Gout is an inflammatory arthritic disease. It is chronic in nature and requires stringent management to be at your optimum.

There are several proven ways you can manage your disease. Follow the advice of your medical provider and avoid “gout-triggering” foods.

While some home remedies help to relieve gout pain. Do not rely solely on this if you are experiencing continued pain, the longer you wait the longer it will take for your symptoms to get better.

Research article on the efficacy of homeopathy treatment for gout 

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