As strange as the name sounds, gout arthritis is quite common. With over 1.5 million reported cases every year in Nigeria alone, it becomes quite imperative to educate you on the condition, and the preventive measures one could take. After all, there is a famous saying among Nigerians “prevention is better than cure.”
Gout is usually characterized by the occurrence of sudden, painful swelling and redness of the joints, most commonly the big toe. Gout can happen when the body produces too much uric acid.
Uric acid is formed when the body breaks down purine, which is a naturally occurring substance in the body. Purines also come from some selected kinds of food like red meat, some types of seafood and internal organs eaten as meat such as liver and kidney. Beer and other alcoholic beverages and soft drinks sweetened with fructose also contain high quantities of uric acid. Typically, the uric acid gets dissolved and removed by the kidneys through the urine. When the kidneys aren’t filtering out enough uric acid from the blood, the excess uric acid forms tiny sharp needle-like crystals called Urate. These sharp crystals then accumulate in the joints which causes painful swellings.
Symptoms Of Gout Arthritis
As explained above, the symptoms are usually quite sudden and happen at night
1. Intense pain: Gout can affect almost any joint of the body, but the most affected part is often the joint in the big toe. Most patients complain of sudden intense pain that goes on for up to 12 hours, with the first four hours being the most severe.
2. Inflammation: The affected joint is usually red, swollen and very tender. This symptom usually takes between a few days or even a few weeks to subside, depending on the severity of the condition.
3. Discomfort: Gout attack is excruciating, and more advanced cases affect more than one joint. After enduring several hours of pain, moving the affected joint becomes very difficult, and it becomes worse with each attack.
Treatment And Prevention.
When you experience an attack, the safest thing to do is to see your doctor. Your doctor recommends the best possible treatment depending on how functional your kidneys are. Ibuprofen also helps reduce the pain and swelling and can easily be obtained from a local drug store.
Some Preventive Measures Which Reduces The Chance Of Further Gout Attacks Includes:
Staying Hydrated: Drink lots of water and other fluids but stay away from sugary drinks especially those sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Stay away from alcoholic beverages especially beer.
Diet: Since you are trying to reduce the level of uric acid, it would be unwise to continue to feast on red meat, seafood and other foods with high levels of purines and uric acid.
Weight loss: Hit the gym. You need to start getting rid of those few extra kilos and beating yourself back into shape. After all, losing weight the right way is also an excellent way to reduce uric acid levels in your body.
Although gout is not life-threatening, it should not be taken lightly. When left unchecked urate crystals can lead to kidney stones. So as soon as you notice the symptoms listed above, see your doctor immediately.