Gout – what it is

Gout is a disease characterized by impaired uric acid metabolism, which results in an excess of uric acid in the tissues and in the blood.

People with gout either produce too much uric acid or their body has trouble getting rid of this acid from the body.

There are several possible consequences of this acid build-up in the body, such as acute and chronic gouty arthritis, kidney stones, and accumulation of uric acid in the skin and other tissues.< /p>

Gout can occur on its own – it can be primary or it can be associated with other diseases or drugs – ie. secondary.

What are the symptoms

The first symptom of gouty arthritis is usually sudden joint burning, redness and swelling.

The joint at the base of the big toe is most commonly swollen and this is usually accompanied by severe tenderness when trying to walk, but the knee, ankle and small joints of the hands can also be affected. .

In some people, the pain can be so severe that even the touch of a sheet on the swollen thumb causes severe pain.

Even without treatment, the first attacks stop after one or two weeks. Although the pain and swelling may completely go away, gouty arthritis often reoccurs in the same joint or another joint.

Over time, gouty arthritis attacks may occur more often and last longer.

While the first attacks of gout usually affect only one or two joints, over time it is possible for the disease to manifest itself in several joints at the same time.

Kidney stones develop more often in people with gout. Uric acid crystals can also accumulate outside the joints, for example in the soft part of the ear, the elbow, the Achilles tendon and in other tissues.

What are the causes

Although the main cause of gout is associated with metabolic dysfunction, heredity, gender and diet do play a key role in its development.

Hereditary factors can be significant. If your parent suffers from gout, the probability that you will also inherit it is about 20%.

Some genes may predispose to an increased level of uric acid or create conditions for inefficient removal of this metabolite from the body.

Although genetics can play a role in the development of gout, this does not mean that everyone with a hereditary predisposition will necessarily develop it.

The presence of other factors, such as lifestyle and diet, also play an important role.

Regarding diet, certain foods can increase the risk of gout.

Consumption of red meats, mushrooms and oily fish contains more purines, which are important precursors of uric acid.

Purines are metabolized in the body, resulting in the formation of uric acid.

Alcoholic beverages, especially beer, are also associated with an increased risk of gout because alcohol reduces the elimination of uric acid from the body and stimulates its production.

Gout is also often associated with obesity and metabolic syndrome.

People who are overweight often have elevated levels of uric acid, which can lead to the accumulation of uric crystals in the joints and the development of gout.

In terms of gender, men have a higher tendency to gout, especially after the end of puberty.

This is due to changes in the hormonal balance that lead to an increase in uric acid levels in men.

In women, uric acid levels increase during menopause, which may be associated with a significant risk of developing gout after this age period.

Gout can also be caused by other factors, such as certain medications, dietary habits, chronic health problems, or increased intake of fructose from sugary drinks and foods.

It is important to note that the combination of several risk factors can increase the likelihood of gout.

To reduce the risks and symptoms of gout, it is recommended to follow a healthy lifestyle, avoiding alcohol and foods high in purines. < /p>

Regular physical activity, weight control and a healthy diet are essential for maintaining normal levels of uric acid in the body.

Treatment of Gout

  • Take the medicines as prescribed. Use something to support yourself when walking while your joints are swollen and if possible lie down;
  • It is helpful in a gout attack to keep the swollen joints above chest level, as long as possible;
  • Applying ice to affected joints is helpful in relieving pain and inflammation;
  • Maintaining good hydration is key to minimizing the frequency and intensity of attacks;
  • Cherry juice can reduce the strength and severity of attacks. >

How to protect yourself

  • Do not consume large amounts of red meat and seafood;
  • Do not drink alcohol often and in large quantities. Even if you have already had attacks, it is best to give it up completely;
  • Eat more low-fat dairy products;
  • Eat more complex carbohydrates such as whole grain bread;
  • Drink plenty of fluids as they help dilute uric acid in the blood. Make sure you drink enough fluids every day;
  • Get enough Vitamin C, but don’t overdo it.

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