Arthritis can vary in many different forms and one of the more severe ones is gout. It is a very painful condition that results from your body producing extra uric acid causing sharp crystals to form in your joints. Where these crystals can form can happen at major joint areas in your body, typically being your big toe.
You will notice symptoms of gout to be intense pain, swelling, stiffness, redness, tenderness where the slightest touch of a bed sheet hurts and a feeling like it could be on fire! Sometimes these symptoms can last about a week or two and usually subside enough to be tolerable in between these flare ups.
When it comes to the cause of gout, there could be many contributing factors. People who are more prone to these gout attacks are likely to have one or a few of the following causes:
- Family history of gout
- Kidney disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Kidney disease
Some other contributing factors are a high intake of animal proteins, excessive alcohol consumption or diuretics.
The first step in figuring out if gout is something you suffer with, you should see your primary care practitioner where they will run tests such as blood work, physical examinations, imaging tests etc. Once diagnosed there are treatments, most of which being medication and perhaps a change in diet.
Preventative medicine is the best medicine, and if possible, the following methods are very helpful when it comes to to preventing gout or at least keeping it at bay:
- Drink lots of water to help keep your kidney’s functioning at their best!
- Regular exercise
- Avoid food and drinks that contain high purines (a natural substance that is often found in food but when consumed in a high amount, creates extra uric acid; the main cause of gout) such as alcohol, red meats, shellfish and sugary drinks.
Gout can put quite the damper on your day-to-day and knowing the signs, symptoms and proper treatment can go a long way!