Many individuals across the globe describe gout as one of the most painful conditions they’ve ever experienced. The pain is so severe that even the weight of the bed sheet or a blanket on the foot could cause debilitating discomfort.
So what is gout, anyway? Gout is a type of arthritis that causes inflammation in the body’s joints, which usually affects the big toe. Gouty arthritis is a condition caused by the deposition of uric acid crystals in a joint.
The risk of having gout increases in people who are overweight, drinking too much alcohol, and eating too much fish or meat that are high in purines. The risk also heightens in people who have a family history of the disease.
Know more about gout through these little-known facts shared by Health Central.
1. All humans are at risk for gout, but gout is rarely seen in men before puberty.
In men, the increase in uric acid levels in the body starts during puberty. However, this doesn’t mean that symptoms may appear. Gout symptoms usually appear after 20 to 40 years of persistent hyperuricemia or increased blood uric acid levels. Normally, men experience their first attack between 30 and 50 years old.
2. All humans are at risk for gout, but gout is rarely seen in younger women.
Gout usually develops its symptoms in women after menopause.
3. Estrogen protects women from having gout before menopause when estrogen levels decline.
Women are likely to experience gout symptoms after menopause, sometimes because of the withdrawal of the protective effect of estrogen and progesterone.
4. Elevated uric acid levels do not necessarily mean that a person has gout.
In some cases, having increased levels of uric acid in the blood may not manifest gout symptoms. However, in time, when they form crystals that deposit into the joints, gout symptoms may appear after several years of persistent hyperuricemia.
5. Uric acid levels in the blood can be normal during a gout flare-up.
The concentration of uric acid in the blood may be supportive of a gout diagnosis. However, in some cases, you can have an acute gout attack even with normal uric acid levels.
6. Many medicines can cause a gout attack.
Some medicines could trigger an acute gout attack including low dose aspirin, thiazide diuretics (hydrochlorothiazide), and some antibiotics.
7. Alcohol use increases the risk for gout.
While beer may be the worst drink for gout, any alcoholic beverage can trigger an acute gout attack. The symptoms may occur in people who are prone to the illness.
8. The best way to diagnose gout is by looking for crystals in the joint fluid.
There are many ways to diagnose gout including x-ray imaging and dual energy CT-scan. These are the best ways to diagnose gout because blood analysis isn’t always accurate.
9. Foods that have high purine content should be avoided.
Foods that are high in purine should be avoided. These include peas, beans, asparagus, spinach, salmon, turkey and shellfish, among others. Purines can dramatically increase uric acid levels in the body.
10. Besides causing arthritis (gouty arthritis), gout can damage the kidneys if left unchecked.
Uric acid is normally excreted by the kidneys. Excess uric acid can damage the kidneys and may lead to long-term health problems.
Here’s how to beat gout:
– Eliminate or reduce sugar intake.
– Eliminate grains.
– Limit alcohol consumption.
– Remove soda in the diet.
– Consume cherries and strawberries daily.
– Exercise regularly.
Do you suffer from gout? Share your common triggers in the comments section below.
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