Who Is At Risk Of Gout
Gout is sometimes called the disease of kings because of a false link to overindulgence in food and alcohol. Anyone can get the condition, but certain factors can increase your risk:
- Gender: Males are more likely to get gout than females.
- Age: Middle-aged and older men and women after menopause are more at risk for gout.
- Family history
- Diet: A diet high in purines, which are broken down into uric acid, can lead to gout. High purine foods include meats like bacon, turkey, veal, venison, and liver, and seafood like anchovies, sardines, mussels, codfish, scallops, trout, and haddock. High fructose foods and drinks such as soda pop also can increase your risk.
- Alcohol use
Signs And Symptoms Of Gout
Any joint can be affected by gout, but it usually affects joints towards the ends of the limbs, such as the toes, ankles, knees and fingers.
Signs and symptoms of gout include:
- severe pain in one or more joints
- the joint feeling hot and very tender
- swelling in and around the affected joint
- red, shiny skin over the affected joint
Symptoms develop rapidly over a few hours and typically last three to 10 days. After this time the pain should pass and the joint should return to normal.
Almost everyone with gout will experience further attacks at some point, usually within a year.
Read more about the complications of gout.
What Can Trigger An Attack Of Gout
Gout can be triggered by medical or lifestyle factors:
Joint injury, infection, or severe, acute illness can all cause gout attacks. Patients should be aware that some medical treatments may contribute to gout. These include certain diuretics, the organ transplant-facilitating drug cyclosporine, and chemotherapy, among others.
For most people, the greatest gout risk comes from lifestyle factors. These include crash diets, excessive consumption of alcohol or sugary sodas, and eating a diet heavy in red meat or shellfish.
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Who Should Diagnose And Treat Gout
The disease should be diagnosed and treated by a doctor or a team of doctors who specialize in care of gout patients. This is important because the signs and symptoms of gout are not specific and can look like signs and symptoms of other inflammatory diseases. Doctors who specialize in gout and other forms of arthritis are called rheumatologists. To find a provider near you, visit the database of rheumatologistsexternal icon on the American College of Rheumatology website. Once a rheumatologist has diagnosed and effectively treated your gout, a primary care provider can usually track your condition and help you manage your gout.
Risk Factors For Gout
Obesity, excessive weight gain, especially in youth, moderate to heavy alcohol intake, high blood pressure, diabetes, and abnormal kidney function are among the risk factors for developing gout. Certain drugs and diseases can also cause elevated levels of uric acid. Also, there is an increased prevalence of abnormally low thyroid hormone levels in patients with gout.
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Can Gout Be Cured
Gout cannot be cured. However, most patients can manage their symptoms and largely avoid gout flare-ups. Your doctor will discuss diet and lifestyle changes that may help. If symptoms are intense, persistent, or highly resistant to these changes, prescription medication can reduce the level of uric acid in the body. Anti-inflammatory medication is used during attacks.
Limited Range Of Motion
Someone experiencing a gout attack has difficulty moving the associated joint. There are a few reasons for this. Not only might the person be in too much pain, but the associated swelling may also prevent the joint from moving as it should. Plus, the uric acid crystals in the joint itself can lead to stiffness.
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Causes And Risk Factors
Gout occurs due to an excess buildup of uric acid, or hyperuricemia.
According to the National Institutes of Health , hyperuricemia is the main risk factor for developing gout. However, a quarter of those with hyperuricemia do not develop gout.
When the body breaks down purines, it produces uric acid. Typically, the kidneys remove a certain amount of uric acid in the urine. However, when they are unable to remove enough uric acid, uric acid crystals can form in the joints and soft tissues, causing swelling and pain.
Gout typically affects males more than females. However, females have higher levels of uric acid after menopause. NIAMS state that being older also the chance of developing gout.
Genetics can also increase the chance of developing gout.
According to the CDC , other factors that may increase the likelihood of gout include:
- Diet: Food can play a role in the development of gout symptoms. Eating seafood, red meat, and drinking alcohol raises uric acid levels in the body.
- Weight: Having overweight increases the chance of developing gout.
- Medications: Certain medications, including diuretics and low-dose aspirin, are associated with gout risk because they increase the level of uric acid in the body.
- Other medical conditions:High blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease can increase gout risk.
According to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, some people with gout may develop complications, such as:
What Causes Gout In The Knee
Gout develops when the body has high levels of uric acid, a normal waste product. This is known as hyperuricemia.
Uric acid is normally excreted through the body via the kidneys, but in some people, levels can remain high and uric acid can start to accumulate and crystallize in various joints. When these uric acid crystals affect the joint in the knee, it can cause gout symptoms in the knee, making the knee joint red, swollen, and hot to the touch. The buildup of uric acid can also impair the knee joints full range of motion, which can make it difficult to walk.
A number of factors can influence your risk for gout.
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What Is The First Sign Of Gout
Symptoms including swelling, redness, and tenderness in affected joints are usually noticeable before a painful gout attack happens. People with a history of gout should check the base of the big toe for changes that can alert them to a flare-up.What foods should I avoid during a gout flare-up?When managing a gout flare-up, it is important to discontinue consumption of beer and liquor right away. Other foods that should be reduced or eliminated include red meat, shellfish, liver, mackerel, and anchovies. All these foods contain a compound that leads to uric acid production.
Early Signs Of Gout To Never Ignore
Gout is the most common variety of inflammatory arthritis, caused by the buildup of sodium urate crystals in the joints. Gout is a unique arthritis disorder in that a singular joint is often affected, which is in the hallux . The condition may also affect areas of the knee, ankle, and smaller toes.
Gout is caused by a condition known as hyperuricemia or an accumulation of uric acid. At a certain level, this acid crystallizes within the joints within the body.
Symptoms of gout include:
- Redness and swelling
Similar to other forms of arthritis, gout flare-ups often occur in people who had been symptom-free for weeks, months, or even years. Many risk factors increase the likelihood of developing hyperuricemia and gout, including:
- Age and sex: Males between the ages of 30 and 50 are more at risk.
- Being overweight or obese: Weight problems may trigger an overproduction of uric acid, leading to accumulation and the development of hyperuricemia.
- Certain medical conditions: Diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and diseases of the heart and kidney increases risk.
- Diet: Drinking alcohol and sugary beverages, and high consumption of meats and seafood, increases risk.
- Medications: Use of low-dose aspirin and diuretics increases uric acid levels.
- Genetic predisposition: Gout, like many other medical conditions, is hereditary.
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Have An Emergency Companion
Anyone with a medical condition should have an emergency companion. This is someone that you can call and rely on in the event of an emergency. It can be a family member, a friend, or a close and trusted neighbor who can come to your aid during a gout attack.
This person will be important to you because a gout attack can leave a person incapacitated for a couple of hours. You might need help reaching for the medicine cabinet or doing a soak remedy. Maybe this person lives with you or near you, either way, whats important is that they are within close proximity so they can help you right away.
How Can I Self
The methods of managing an acute attack of gout differ from the ongoing methods for managing gout. If youve been diagnosed with gout, youll benefit in the long term from making healthy changes to your lifestyle, such as:
- maintaining a healthy body weight. If you do need to lose weight, make sure your weight loss is gradual as crash diets can increase uric acid levels
- drinking alcohol in moderation and avoiding binge drinking
- drinking plenty of water, and staying hydrated
- avoiding, or eating in moderation, foods that are high in purines. Talk with a dietitian for tips and advice
- exercising regularly aim to complete at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week
- working closely with your GP to prevent further attacks and actively manage your condition.
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How Can An Attack Of Gout Be Treated
The management of an acute attack of gout is very different from the prevention of subsequent attacks.
Treatments used for prevention, such as allopurinol can actually make things worse if given during an attack, and so need to be held back until the attack has resolved for several weeks.
There are a number of measures that can help resolve an attack of gout. See Table 2 for summary of treatment strategies for acute gout. One principle is that treatment for an attack of gout should be instituted quickly, since quick treatment can often be rewarded with a quick improvement.
If an attack of gout is allowed to last more than a day or so before treatment is started, the response to treatment may be much slower.
Table 2: Medications to treat acute attacks of gout
What To Do During An Attack
- take any medication you’ve been prescribed as early as possible after you notice an attack this should start to have an effect within two or three days
- rest and raise the limb
- avoid knocking or damaging the affected joint
- keep the joint cool remove surrounding clothing and apply an ice pack, such as a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel
- ensure you’re well hydrated
Apply the ice pack to your joint for around 20 minutes. Don’t apply ice directly to your skin and don’t apply it for more than 20 minutes at a time because this could damage the skin.
If necessary, you can keep reapplying an ice pack to your skin during an attack, but you should wait until your skin has returned to a normal temperature first.
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Genes And Family History
Research over the past decade has increasingly identified a link between a genetic predisposition and high uric acid levels. For example, in a 2012 study, researchers looking at a large number of peoples unique genomes found that patients with gout often shared a similar variation on a gene that affects kidney function. A 2018 study further identified several genes that influence how the body gets rid of uric acid.
What Causes Gout In Toes
Gout occurs due to the clustering of uric acid in the bloodstream and the formation of urate crystals in the joint space. The metabolism of purines gives rise to a waste product, uric acid.
It is processed in the kidneys and then eliminated through urine. If uric acid is produced in an extremely high amount, then it is not possible for the kidneys to flush it out.
Consumption of foods high in purines is responsible for elevated levels of uric acid in the body. If kidney functioning is affected due to renal conditions, then also the kidneys cannot eliminate uric acid.
Excessively increased uric acid gets accumulated in the blood to form crystals, which form deposition in the space around the joints of toes. It results in pain and inflammation in the affected joint.
Middle-aged people with a family history are more prone to develop gout. Obesity and excess alcoholism can also trigger gout attacks.
Certain health conditions, such as kidney disorders, thyroid diseases, hypertension, and diabetes, are found to be associated with gouty arthritis. Foods that contain rich amount of purines such as pork, organ meat, beef, seafood as well as alcoholic beverages can cause hyperuricemia, resulting in gout in toes.
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What Happens At Your Appointment
The GP may ask about your diet and if you drink alcohol.
They may refer you to see a specialist and arrange a blood test and scan. Sometimes a thin needle is used to take a sample of fluid from inside the affected joint, to test it.
The blood test will find out how much of a chemical called uric acid there is in your blood.
Having too much uric acid in your blood can lead to crystals forming around your joints, which causes pain.
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If you havegout, youre all too familiar with the sudden, burning joint pain that a gout attack can bring on most commonly in the big toe.
Gout a type ofarthritis is caused by too much uric acid in the blood. Usually, having an excess of uric acid isnt harmful. In fact, many people with high levels in their blood never get gout. But when uricacid levels in your blood are too high, the uric acid may form hard crystals in your joints.
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Gout Frequently Flares In Your Knee But You May Not Always Know That Your Knee Pain Is Due To Gout Heres How To Tell Since Prompt Treatment Can Reduce Your Risk Of Complications
Knee pain can be a common symptom of several types of arthritis, as well as many other conditions or injuries. If your knee stiffness is accompanied by a burning pain and is warm to touch, you may have a gout flare in the knee.
Though gout is most often associated with the big toe, gout tends to flare in areas that already have arthritis, says Robert Keenan, MD, a rheumatologist with Articularis Healthcare in Summerville, South Carolina. Although gout can strike in many different joints, as a general rule, gout works its way up the body. If its not treated, it works its way up from the big toe, through the ankle, to the knee, and then to the lower spine and so on.
Gout can affect both knees, but typically is felt more strongly in one knee say, where you may have arthritis wear-and-tear to begin with.
Learn more about what causes gout in the knee, as well as ways to treat the pain and prevent it in the future.
Is There A Connection Between Gout And Turf Toe
If you are predisposed to gout or have multiple risk factors, joint injury may trigger a gout attack. Even stubbing your toe can cause a gout attack if there are enough uric acid crystals in your cartilage already.
If you have gout, its important to take precautions for your feet and joints when you exercise. Continuing to manage your condition over time is important.
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Gout In Foot: Causes And Risk Factors
In about 90 percent of hyperuricaemia cases, there is impaired renal excretion in about 10 percent, there is a problem with overproduction.
- Urate overproduction can be linked to lifestyle factors and certain diseases such as bone marrow cancers, psoriasis, and hemolytic anemia. Lifestyle factors include being overweight and ingesting excess amount of fructose or alcohol.
- Renal impairment has multiple causes, including gene mutations, hypertension, diuretic drugs, lead exposure, and cyclosporine immunosuppressive therapy.
- Gender and age. Men are twice as likely to develop gout as women. In men, the risk rises with age. Gout is uncommon in younger women but the incidence increases dramatically after menopause, due to falling estrogen.
- Western diet. There is solid evidence from the Health Professional Follow-up Study of a link between gout and purine-rich foods. See gout diet.
- Medications. Diuretics, antihypertensives, niacin, aspirin, chemotherapy and immunosuppressive drugs increase the risk of gout.
- Other conditions. Certain conditions carry an increased risk of gout including: Recent joint injury or surgery, cardiovascular disease, chronic pulmonary disease, anemia, psoriasis, renal disease, blood cancers, and metabolic syndrome.
Burning Itching Or Tingling Sensation
Most gout sufferers say they experience a burning, itching, or tingling feeling in their joint just an hour or two before the attack happens. It may also feel stiff or sore. However, some dont experience any of these sensations at all.
Gout can be different for every person, so one persons telltale signs may be different from yours. If youve previously experienced a gout attack, take note of the sensations leading up to an attack so that you feel better prepared when it happens.
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