Have you ever experienced a searing sensation in your joints? It occurs accompanied by swelling, redness and the inability for you to move the affected joints because of stiffness. A little movement can make you feel unbearable pain, causing you to immobilize the affected part of your body. These are the symptoms of gout.
Gout comes from the Latin and old French words gutta and gote respectively, both meaning drop. This etymology does not run far from what gout is. Gout is the dropping of uric acid deposits into the joints of the body as they circulate through the blood. When these deposits accumulate into a significant amount and forms needle-like structures called urates, gout attacks start and the pain begins.
Most of the time, the first attack of gout happens in the joint of the big toe. However, these attacks can occur in all other jointed areas of the body, including the ankles, the knees, the elbows, the fingers, the heels, the wrist and even the pelvic area for severe cases.
What causes gout?
Since gout is primarily caused by increase in uric acid levels of the body, it is best to find out what can cause high uric acid in the body in order to prevent it.
Uric acid is an antioxidant of the body. Excess uric acids are secreted from the body via urine and stool. However, when the level of uric acid in the body rises above the needed amount of the body, they start to clog up in the joints (gout) or in the kidneys (kidney stones and other kidney disorders). Uric acid can be obtained from purine-rich foods such as organ meats, red meats and seafood.
In addition to uric acid level, other factors can greatly contribute to gout attacks. Stressful events, excessive alcohol intake, drug intake or other diseases can cause gout to surface as well. Some cases also detect hereditary factors to gout, hence, if you have a family member with gout, chances are you will also experience them.
Gout is more likely to strike men over women. Most noted cases of gout on women only occur during the menopause stage. If you are also a regular aspirin and niacin user, you are also increasing the chance of gout in your system. Being overweight does not help prevent it either.
Early or first time attacks of gout usually disappear on their own within three to ten days. However, once you have experienced gout attacks, chances of its recurrence become very high.
How to avoid gout attacks?
In order to prevent future gout attacks or shoo it away as quickly as possible when it occurs, it is best to adopt healthy lifestyle diet and follow healthy living norms. You should start eating food items that are low in purine such as eggs, fruits, and vegetables.
Also, engage in exercises especially if you are overweight, and avoid other drug intakes when you are under medication for gout to prevent side effects. Cutting out beer and other alcohol intake and increasing water intake would also be very helpful.