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What is Gout?
Gout is a chronic disease in which the metabolism of uric acid is disturbed. It increases the amount of uric acid in the blood and other body fluids and builds up insoluble salts in the tissues.
Symptoms of Gout
The most common symptoms of gout are swelling of the joints, pain, and redness of the tissues, showing inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues. At the same time, the patient may suffer from fatigue, malaise, chills, fever, headache, irritability due to malaise, and difficulty moving.
This is because it is in the joints that insoluble urates are formed, which are formed due to excessive uric acid in the body, and these urates eventually damage the joints and internal organs, contributing to developing inflammation and nodule formation. The amount of uric acid in the body increases due to two main reasons — increased production and impaired renal excretion. The patient may suffer from both causes at the same time.
Gout often occurs year after year without even thinking about it. Acute inflammation of the joint begins and passes simply by taking pain medication and not even realizing that the disease is progressing further.
Frequent patients turn to doctors with a very advanced uric acid metabolism disorder when more active treatment is needed, and irreversible joint damage and deformities are already noted.
Such patients are already developing subcutaneous nodules or even developing internal organ damage. Indeed, no joint inflammation should be ignored (usually the toe joint is affected, but other joints may also be affected), as these inflammations are very likely to recur and become more frequent, and NSAIDs will provide only short-term relief without resolving the underlying cause of the disease.
There is a tendency for patients to seek help only when no one is helping anymore. Such patients often admit that the first inflammatory attacks of the joints began to plague five or ten years ago. Of course, the course of the disease can vary greatly. Some have only a few seizures in a lifetime, while others develop chronic joint inflammation that requires lifelong treatment.
How Gout is Diagnosed?
Gout is diagnosed by performing blood tests, interviewing the patient, taking an interest in his diet and harmful habits, health problems of family members (an important and genetic factor), assessing the condition of the joints and the composition of the fluid in the joint.
If urate microcrystals are observed in the synovial fluid, then a diagnosis of gout is very likely. The disease usually begins in older men, but it can also affect women, especially after menopause. Gout develops faster and easier in obese people who abuse, unhealthy food and alcohol and suffer from various chronic diseases such as arterial hypertension, diabetes, kidney failure, etc.
Seizures are provoked by starvation, frostbite, surgery, severe medical conditions (such as heart attack or stroke), certain medications, and the like. The causes of gout are not always known, but its risk factors/triggers are completely clear.
Treatment of Gout
Long-term and regular use of drugs that inhibit the production of uric acid and improve its excretion helps to prevent gout attacks and improve the general condition of the body. The diet should always be healthy and most importantly, moderation, because you can eat everything. The most important thing is not to overeat and not abuse the purine-rich products. You should drink more water, eat more fruits and vegetables, but it is better to avoid strong coffee and tea.
If a patient is found to have only elevated uric acid levels in the blood but no history of gout attacks, specific uric acid-lowering therapy is usually not prescribed. It is recommended to avoid foods high in purines (seafood, fatty meats, and fish legumes) and to limit alcohol consumption (especially beer).
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and, in rare cases, hormonal drugs are used to treat an acute gout attack. The affected joint needs peace of mind — a splint can be used, and local cold caplets are also suitable for pain relief. It is recommended to eat low-calorie food, drink 2–3 liters of fluid per day (mineral water is most suitable).
For recurrent gout attacks, specific uric acid lowering therapy is given. Drugs that reduce the production of uric acid or increase its excretion by the kidneys are usually given. It is important to evaluate renal function, patient age, and other chronic diseases and conditions before starting uric acid-lowering therapy.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Misbah