What To Know About Gout In Hands
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that is typically associated with lower body joint pains, especially in older male patients. The pain usually starts with the big toe but can progress to the lesser toes, ankles and knees. Gout in hands can also occur.
Alternatively, gout in hands affects the upper body joints like the wrists, knuckles and elbows. While gout in hands tends to be less painful, the debilitating effects are just as bad.
Studies have shown that cases of gout have been increasing since the 1990s as reported by Mayo Clinic. Unfortunately, the data shows that the increase in cases includes both older and younger patients, as well as males and females.
What Are The Symptoms Of Gout
An episode of gout is called a gout attack. Gout attacks are very painful and can happen quite suddenly, often overnight. During a gout attack, symptoms in the affected joint may include:
- Intense pain.
- Tenderness, even to light touch, such as from a bedsheet.
- Warmth, or a feeling like the joint is on fire.
- How long does a gout attack last?
A gout attack can last a week or two. Between gout attacks, you may have no symptoms at all.
Myth: Only Wealthy And Obese People Get Gout
Truth: People of all sizes get gout although extra pounds increase the risk, says John Reveille, M.D., director of rheumatology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. Gout is also more common in people who have other, often weight-related health problems, including diabetes and high blood pressure or cholesterol. And while income has nothing to do with the condition, genes do play a part: If your parents had gout, you’re more likely to have it as well.
Gout is not a gender-specific disease.
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Is There A Test For Gout
There is no one test for gout, and its symptoms are similar to several different conditions. To see if you have gout, your health care provider may:
- Ask you to provide your medical history, including:
- Your symptoms.
- Any other medical problems you have.
- Any medications you are taking.
The Cause Of Gout Is More Than Just Diet
While diet is critical, dont overlook other important factors that affect gout. These include family history, sleep apnoea, and lack of physical exercise to name a few.
And as much as I prefer focusing on what you should eat to prevent health scares, there are just so many clear trigger foods for gout.
Its important to deal with these factors first and foremost.
About Joe Leech, Dietitian
Joe Leech is a university-qualified dietitian from Australia.
He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in exercise science, followed by a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2011.
Learn more about him on the About page.
Joe Leech, Dietitian
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How Does A Doctor Diagnose Gout
If you have sudden or severe pain in a joint, you should talk to your primary care provider . Your PCP may send you to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in gout and other kinds of arthritis.
Healthcare providers consider several things when confirming gout:
- Symptoms: The provider will ask you to describe your symptoms, how often they happen and how long they last.
- Physical examination: Your provider will examine the affected joint to look for swelling, redness and warmth.
- Blood work: A test can measure the amount of uric acid in your blood.
- Imaging tests: You may have pictures taken of the affected joint with X-rays, an ultrasound or MRI.
- Aspiration: The provider may use a needle to pull fluid from the joint. Using a microscope, a team member can look for uric acid crystals or a different problem .
Organ Meats Are Extremely High In Purines And Should Also Be Avoided
Organ meats, known as Offal, contain by far the most purines of any food in the human diet.
The most common forms of offal in the Western diet include liver , brain, heart, kidneys, and a mixture called Pâté.
Purine Content of Food :
Consider that values listed are per 100 grams, so portion sizes must be taken into account Meat portions we eat tend to be heaviest.
Previous studies have not differentiated between intake of conventional meat and offal, so recommendations have to be the same. Given the strong link between meat intake and gout which is based on purine content alone offal should definitely be avoided too.
Somewhat contradictory to the purine-gout theory, consumption of purine-rich vegetables is not associated with an increased risk of gout .
Researchers speculate this could be due to a lower bioavailability of purines in vegetabes, as well as other nutrients which may offset the harmful effects of their purines.
Summary: Organ meats are some of the highest purine foods and should be completely avoided if you suffer gout attacks.
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Myth: Gout Is Painful But It Won’t Kill You
Truth: Gout can’t kill you directly, but it can cause serious health problems that may eventually kill you, says Robert Keenan, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Duke University. It can increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke, and it also may be linked to insulin resistance, the body’s shrinking ability to use insulin to lower blood sugar. If gout is untreated, you can develop clumps of uric acid crystals called tophi, which can become infected and life threatening.Join AARP Today Receive access to exclusive information, benefits and discounts.
There are prescription drugs that can treat gout.
Warning Signs Of A Gout Flare
Gout flare-ups tend to come on suddenly.
A flare-up will usually occur in one localized areausually the big toe, but it can also affect other joints like the ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, or fingers.
Some symptoms you may experience include:
- Joint pain
- Loss of mobility
When it comes to gout prevention, get to know your familys general medical history.
Genetics plays a big role in your chances of developing gout, so its a good idea to get familiar with your family history of gout.
Other risk factors include:
- Sex: Men are three times more likely than women to develop gout.
- Age: Men over 40 and post-menopausal women are more likely to develop gout.
- Weight: People who are obese are at a greater risk of developing gout.
- Medical conditions: People with high blood pressure, diabetes, insulin resistance, or heart and kidney diseases are at a greater risk of developing gout.
- Alcohol consumption: Alcohol is dehydrating. The risk of developing gout increases as alcohol consumption goes up.
If you have a family history of gout or fall into multiple risk factor groups, discuss prevention with your doctor.
A low-purine diet is typically recommended to help keep uric acid levels in your body low.
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Symptoms Of Gout In Hands
Despite the sharp pains, most people see some swelling and redness in their skin and chalk it up to a bad sprain. As a result, many people do not get their condition diagnosed and try to manage gout flares on their own.
The longer your gout in hands remains untreated, the worse pain and joint damage you may suffer. Here are some of the most common symptoms of gout:
- Sharp joint pain. Gout pain can strike suddenly, and it hits hard. This can wake you up in the middle of the night or on the drive home from work.
- Prolonged period of discomfort. Most bad sprains are gone after a few days. Gout pain, on the other hand, can persist for up to two weeks.
- Inflammation, tenderness and red skin. The inflammation can cause your joints to swell significantly and makes the skin tender and warm to the touch. In addition, you may notice a much more limited range of motion in your joints.
Now Its Your Turn To Understand Why Does My Gout Get Worse At Night
Presently theres nowadays a large number of us who no suffer gout because we tackled it at its lead to more lengthy. Rather than just tinkering with the symptoms.
Im one of them!
Remember, I acquired gout for exactly the same factors it really is got by you now.
An poor gut microbiome meant that bacteria which should have been eliminating another of my bodys uric acid simply wasnt.
That bacteria possessed diminished to the stage that my kidneys have been trying to deal with the acid independently.
And they couldnt cope.
Nor can yours.
It wasnt i was suddenly making an excessive amount of uric acid. It agains that my gut was initially no in a position to support my kidneys take it off from my body longer.
And the transformation from gout to no gout felt like magic almost.
You can possibly imagine it yourself.. what it would be like to simply never have any gout ever again.
Take my word for it, its wonderful!
No flare-ups, no pain, no being laid-up in bed for days waiting for the pain to subside.
No more thinking if some upcoming event will be smudged because Im laid up in agony with another episode.
Just as satisfying is the fact that Ive dramatically lowered my dangers of battling diabetes also, kidney failure, cardiovascular disease and some malignancies.
Shellys program lays it all out for us. No special knowledge is required. I found it easy.
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Is Crab Bad For Gout
DONT: Eat Certain Seafood Cold water fish like tuna, salmon and trout can increase your uric acid levels, but the heart benefit from eating them in moderation may be greater than the gout attack risk. Mussels, scallops, squid, shrimp, oysters, crab and lobsters should only be eaten once in a while.
How Is Gout Diagnosed
In a clear-cut case, a primary care physician can make the diagnosis of gout with a high level of confidence. However, often there are two or more possible causes for an inflamed toe or other joint, which mimics some of the symptoms of gout, so tests to identify the presence of uric acid is performed.
Since the treatment for gout is lifelong, its very important to make a definitive diagnosis. Ideally, the diagnosis is made by identifying uric acid crystals in joint fluid or in a mass of uric acid . These can be seen by putting a drop of fluid on a slide and examining it using a polarizing microscope, which takes advantage of the way uric acid crystals bend light. A non-rheumatologist, when possible, can remove fluid from the joint by aspirating it with a small needle and send it to a lab for analysis. A rheumatologist is likely to have a polarizing attachment on their microscope at their office. Gout crystals have a needle-like shape, and are either yellow or blue, depending on how they are arranged on the slide .
Figure 11: Uric Acid Crystals Under Polarizing Light Microscopy
There are many circumstances where, however ideal it would be, no fluid or other specimen is available to examine, but a diagnosis of gout needs to be made. A set of criteria has been established to help make the diagnosis of gout in this setting .2
Table 1: Diagnosing gout when no crystal identification is possible
Ideally, 6 of 10 features will be present of the following:
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How Gout Can Affect Your Cancer Risk
Having a high uric acid level, as gout patients do, can be an early indication for cancers that develop in skin tissues and the linings of internal organs. Studies show that gout is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer in men. Liver, lung, and colon cancers have also commonly been detected in people with gout.
Myth: There Are Things I Can Eat And Avoid In My Diet To Prevent Or Cure Gout
There may be foods you should avoid if you are prone to gout, and certain foods you eat may help to decrease the level of uric acid in your body. But diet alone is not a cure. People with gout who follow a healthy diet may still need medicines to prevent gout attacks by lowering the level of uric acid in their body.
If you think you might have gout, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. If you have gout and are experiencing symptoms, talk to your doctor about the available treatments. You may need a referral to a rheumatologist, or arthritis doctor, who specializes in gout.
On National Gout Awareness Day, AKF held a Facebook Live gout chat featuring a patient with chronic gout and a rheumatologist.
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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.
How Is Gout Treated
Gout can be effectively treated and managed with medical treatment and self-management strategies. Your health care provider may recommend a medical treatment plan to
- Manage the pain of a flare. Treatment for flares consists of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, steroids, and the anti-inflammatory drug colchicine.
- Prevent future flares. Making changes to your diet and lifestyle, such as losing weight, limiting alcohol, eating less purine-rich food , may help prevent future attacks. Changing or stopping medications associated with hyperuricemia may also help.
- Prevent tophi and kidney stones from forming as a result of chronic high levels of uric acid. Tophi are hard, uric acid deposits under the skin. For people with frequent acute flares or chronic gout, doctors may recommend preventive therapy to lower uric acid levels in the blood using drugs like allopurinol, febuxostat, and pegloticase.
In addition to medical treatment, you can manage your gout with self-management strategies. Self-management is what you do day to day to manage your condition and stay healthy, like making healthy lifestyle choices. The self-management strategies described below are proven to reduce pain and disability, so you can pursue the activities important to you.
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Dealing With Gout Get Help Now To Avoid Permanent Joint Damage
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If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 or seek care at an emergency room.
Gout is a common type of inflammatory arthritis, with sudden flares of joint swelling, pain, warmth, and redness, often in the big toe. Some patients may go months or even years between flares. Many gout sufferers assume that the gout is gone between flares and they dont need medication to treat it.
These prolonged gaps between flares, when the patient feels fine, fuel the misconception that gout is no big dealbut that couldnt be further from the truth.
Left untreated, gout can cause permanent joint damage, even between flares. As a rheumatologist, I see some of the worst outcomes from untreated gout: destroyed joints that cause significant, irreversible pain and disability.
Patients consistently tell me, I wish I had taken my gout more seriously. Its incredibly disheartening because most of the negative outcomes are preventable with early recognition and consistent treatment.
You can avoid permanent damage from chronic gout by learning its risk factors and symptomsand seeking treatment at the first sign of the condition.
Get Tested For Sleep Apnea
Untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of gout.12,13 Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes the body to take in less oxygen while sleeping, which in turn causes the body to produce more purines.12,14 Sleep apnea is typically treated with a continuous positive airway pressure machine or other device that increases oxygen intake while sleeping.
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What Can Increase Your Risk
A high level of uric acid in the blood is the main factor that increases your risk of developing gout. However, it’s still uncertain why some people with a high level of uric acid in the blood develop gout, while others with an equally high level don’t.
Other factors that may increase your risk of developing gout are outlined below.
How Gout Can Affect Your Joints Inside And Out
When untreated gout turns into advanced, chronic gout, uric acid crystals can cause hard nodules called tophi that form under the skin, on the surface of joints, or on cartilage. Typically, tophi develop on the hands, feet, elbows, and along the back of the ankles. Fortunately, they are painless, but when left untreated they can cause joints to deteriorate.
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