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Gout: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment
Gout: A Foe for your Toe
Gout is a misunderstood malady. Despite the intense pain that gout can bring, it is a condition that rarely makes the glossy pages of a magazine. If you are ever personally hit with the sudden onset of gout, classically (50% of the time) seen as a sudden and excruciating pain in the big toe, you will have a newly found interest in the following information.
Gout is caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the fluids of your body. These uric acid crystals deposit in joints, tendons and kidneys, damaging the tissues and causing inflammation and pain. The pain is a result of countless needle-like crystals that form from the excess uric acid.
There are two main types of gout, primary and secondary. Most (90%) of gout sufferers fall into the ‘primary’ category. This is a pattern with a cause that is generally unknown (idiopathic), although there are some genetic patterns that can lead one to tend toward elevated uric acid. Secondary gout is identified when uric acid is elevated in response to some other disorder (such as kidney disease).
Some medicines (such as aspirin and diuretics) can lead to the onset of gout attacks because they decrease the excretion of uric acid from the body.
The first sign of gout is usually an intense pain during the night. The attack is commonly brought on following a day or evening of excess in alcohol, food, some drugs, or surgery. If the attack progresses, fever and chills will follow. Recurring attacks are common (90%), mostly occurring in the first year. While chronic gout is quite rare, gout sufferers do have a higher risk of kidney dysfunction and kidney stones.
Conventional treatment for the symptoms of gout is the anti-inflammatory drug colchicine. Isolated from the autumn crocus, colchicine has a strong effect to combat inflammation (though it has no effect on uric acid levels!). This provides most sufferers relief within the day, although the drug may be difficult for many to tolerate due to digestive side effects.
To prevent gout attacks, the following lifestyle should be considered:
If you find yourself or your loved one suffering from a gout attack, it is unlikely you would hesitate to seek professional help. The pain of an acute gout attack has been compared to the pain of childbirth.
However, gout sufferers are overwhelmingly (95%) male.
During an episode your gout symptoms may include:
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