You’ve likely heard the term “gout”, but do you know what it is, and what to do about it? Gout is actually a very painful type of arthritis. In order to alleviate the pain of this condition, it must be treated, either by a doctor or by using one of many home remedies.
There are different types of gout, and it can be acute or chronic. In most cases, gout occurs in men, but it is not uncommon for women to also end up with this painful condition.
What is Gout?
As previously stated, gout is a type of arthritis that is extremely painful. Gout occurs when urate crystals have gathered in the joints in the body. Often, we hear about people having gout in their big toes, but it can actually occur in any of the joints. When one is experiencing a gout attack, they may have burning pain, stiffness in the affected joint, and swelling in the joint. Unless treated, these attacks will continue to happen, and they will get worse over time, causing damage to the joints and tendons, as well as to other tissues.
The cause of gout is a high level of uric acid in the bloodstream. In most cases, this isn’t a problem for people, but when the uric acid levels get too high, crystals may start to form in the joints. Gout tends to be more prevalent in those who are overweight, drink excessive amounts of alcohol, and eat large amounts of meat and fish (high in chemicals known as purines). It can also be caused by certain medications, such as diuretics. You can find out if you are at risk, and what you can do to prevent or treat gout, by taking the Gout Quiz.
Types of Gout:
There are two main types of gout: acute and chronic tophaceous. You will definitely know it if you have a gout attack because you will experience extreme pain in the affected joints. Gout can actually affect several joints, and it will only get worse if not properly treated!
1. Acute Gout
This is also known as a gout attack, and the pain associated with an attack can be debilitating. In most cases, the pain starts first thing in the morning, and will reach its peak in a period of 24 to 48 hours. With acute gout, the pain will go away in about a week or so, without medication. When you have this type of gout, you will notice that the affected joints are red and swollen.
2. Chronic Tophaceous Gout
If you have this type of gout, you will experience chronic, recurrent attacks. Urate crystals may appear in your ear, over the tip of your elbow, and in the joints of your fingers. If left untreated, the affected joint could end up being destroyed over time as it will begin to erode. The affected joints could end up looking like rheumatoid arthritis. But, you can distinguish between the two because there are no urate crystals deposited in the joints when you have rheumatoid arthritis. This type of gout develops about 10 years following the first acute gout attack, particularly if treatment is not sought.
This is a common form of gout and the one that we hear of most often. Urate crystals gather in the joint of the big toe, and this is actually one of the first signs that one has gout. Most middle-aged patients who develop gout have podagra. You will know if you have this type of gout because your big toe will be swollen, sore, and red. This type of gout can be so painful that some sufferers can’t even wear socks or let the bed sheets lay on top of their feet.