Gout pains treatment

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What is gout?

Gout is a type of arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is formed when the body breaks down purines, a substance found in some foods such as red meat. Sweetened drinks and alcohol can also increase the level of uric acid in the body. Normally, uric acid is processed by the kidneys and excreted from the body through urine.

 

However, in a gout attack, excess uric acid forms urate crystals that lodge near joints. This leads to painful attacks in those joints, most often in the big toe, foot, ankle or knee. Gout can affect anyone, although men are more often affected than women.

Symptoms and causes

Painful attacks of gout are most often experienced in the joints in the lower extremities including the big toe, foot, ankle or knee. Attacks often occur at night. It is usually an intense, sudden attack with lingering pain, and this pain can come and go. The most intense period is usually between four and 12 hours after the attack begins.

 

The joints affected will appear swollen and red with limited mobility. The joint may also feel warm to the touch and very tender. Recurrent attacks of gout are possible, and the condition can also lead to kidney stones. Patients can also experience lumps under the skin caused by the buildup of uric acid.

Men are most likely to develop gout, especially between the ages of 30 and 50. Other risk factors include family history, obesity, and a diet high in purines (one that includes lots of red meat, organs, certain kinds of seafood). Drinking sugary drinks can also increase risk. Gout attacks should be treated so they do not worsen.

 

The condition can be treated with medication including NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen as well as with corticosteroids and colchicine. Drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding or limiting alcohol, avoiding or limiting fatty meats, and consuming low-fat dairy products may help prevent attacks. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercise can also reduce risk.

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FAQs about gout

Can you get gout in your knee?


Typically, gout affects the large joint in the big toe, but can also occur in any joint, most commonly the ankles, knees, elbows, wrists and fingers. When you have gout in your knee, it makes movement painful and uncomfortable. The most common symptom of gout in the knee is the level of pain and discomfort around the area. Symptoms may suddenly appear like a burning pain and while it may start in the big toe, it can move to the knee over time. Tenderness, swelling, redness, stiffness and a limited range of motion are indicative of gout in the knee.




Should I walk with gout?


It can be increasingly difficult and painful to stand or walk during episodes of gout in the knee. Some people find that keeping mobile reduced the pain while others claim movement was impossible. When you’re having an attack of gout in the knee, rather try avoiding moving the affected joint as much as possible and apply ice to the knee for approximately 20 minutes to reduce swelling. Anti-inflammatory medications can also help relieve pain. Moving your knee that’s inflamed could cause more pain and discomfort but gentle movement through its range of motion can help prevent stiffness.




How long does a gout attack last?


Gout is a condition that can flare up without warning. A gout attack could last anything from 3 to 14 days, regardless if you’re taking medication or not. After experiencing your first episode of gout, it’s highly advisable to reassess your diet and other risk factors to prevent more frequent and painful episodes from occurring. If having an acute attack, you can take medication to relieve pain and inflammation, but it will not reduce uric acid levels. When uric acid builds up, you’ll experience a sudden and severe joint pain. If left untreated it’s likely you’ll experience more gout attacks.




Can you get gout in your fingers?


Gout is a form of arthritis that’s triggered by an excess uric acid in the bloodstream. While it generally starts in the joint in the big toe, it can occur in any joint, typically the elbows, wrists, fingers and knees. It’s associated with an intense joint pain in the fingers with a lingering discomfort that could last days and even weeks. Other symptoms of gout in the fingers include a warm tenderness and reddening of the skin. You may find that moving your fingers through their full range of motion can be limited, tight and uncomfortable.




Is gout hereditary?


Uric acid dissolves in the blood and excreted through the kidneys in urine. When gout attacks occur, the uric acid has built up, forming crystals in the space between the joints. While gout is considered as a hereditary condition, other lifestyle factors also play a part as a direct cause, like having a poor diet or excessive alcohol use. If the kidneys cannot process the uric acid effectively, it could also indicate underlying issues such as diabetes or high blood pressure that can reduce kidney function. If the levels of uric acid remain high, gout attacks can occur more frequently.





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