Gout is a common form of arthritis that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a painful condition that occurs when uric acid crystals accumulate in the joints, causing inflammation and severe pain. Although gout is a treatable condition, it can lead to serious complications if left untreated, including joint damage and kidney damage.
Gout has been around for centuries, with evidence of the condition dating back to ancient Egypt. Despite its long history, however, many people are still unaware of what causes gout, how it can be prevented, and how it can be treated.
If you suffer from gout or have a family history of the condition, it’s essential to educate yourself about the disease and take steps to manage it effectively. By understanding the underlying causes of gout and adopting healthy lifestyle habits, you can reduce your risk of developing the condition and manage your symptoms more effectively.
This article aims to provide an overview of gout, including its causes, symptoms, and available non-invasive treatments. So, let’s dive in and explore everything you need to know about gout.
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes pain and swelling in your joints that often begin in your big toe or a lower limb. Flares will typically last for a week or two.
Gout happens when high levels of serum urate build up in your body, which can then form needle-shaped crystals in and around the joint. This leads to inflammation and arthritis of the joint.
When the body makes too much urate, or removes too little, urate levels build up in the body. However, many people with high levels of serum urate will not develop gout.
Symptoms Of Gout
The symptoms of gout typically appear suddenly and often occur at night. They can include:
- Intense pain: Gout is characterized by severe pain in the affected joint. The pain is often described as a sharp, stabbing sensation, and it can be so severe that even the weight of a bedsheet can be unbearable.
- Swelling and redness: The affected joint may become swollen and red, and it may feel warm to the touch.
- Limited range of motion: The pain and swelling can make it difficult to move the affected joint, limiting your range of motion.
- Tenderness: The affected joint may feel tender to the touch, and even light pressure can cause pain.
- Fever: In some cases, gout can cause a fever, and you may feel generally unwell.
It’s important to note that gout can affect any joint in the body, but it most commonly affects the big toe. Other joints that can be affected include the ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, and fingers.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Gout Has 4 Stages
- Hyperuricemia, when you have elevated levels of urate in your blood and crystals are forming in the joint, but you do not have symptoms.
- Gout flares, when you have an attack of intense pain and swelling in your joints.
- Interval or intercritical gout, which is the time between gout attacks when you do not have any symptoms.
- Tophi, a late stage of gout when crystals build up in the skin or other areas of the body. Depending on their location, tophi can permanently damage your joints and other internal organs such as the kidneys. Proper treatment can prevent the development of tophi.
With early diagnosis, treatment, and lifestyle changes, gout is one of the most controllable forms of arthritis. Many people avoid gout flares and can decrease the severity of their symptoms, and can even become gout free.
What are the best foods to eat when you have gout?
Studies suggest that certain foods and drinks may help reduce uric acid in your body. For example:
- Cherries – Cherries have known anti-inflammatory properties, and they may also help reduce uric acid in your body.
- Coffee – Drinking coffee daily can reduce your uric acid levels by several means. It slows the breakdown of purine into uric acid and speeds the rate of excretion.
- Water – Drink five to eight glasses of water a day are less likely to experience gout symptoms. Water is also good for kidney health. Impaired kidney function is one factor that can contribute to gout.
Tips for Optimal Joint Health
Optimizing your joint health is an important priority for people with gout. By following the best joint health practices, you can improve how well your joints function while also improving joint comfort.
- Pay attention to pain signals
- Avoid repetitive motions
- Avoid strain
- Warm up before exercise
- Avoid high-impact exercise
- Avoid inflammatory foods
- Exercise regularly
- Get sleep
- Stop smoking
- Lose weight
- Functional footwear
Red Light Therapy
An innovative method of improving joint health is the use of red light therapy. Red light has a long wavelength when compared to other forms of light, allowing it to penetrate far deeper into the body and reach tissues like the tissues in joints.
Red light is often used to promote joint health because of the anti inflammatory effects that it has been shown to cause. Red light therapy can penetrate deep into the joints, and research has shown that it can improve joint pain and joint function.
While research is still being conducted, the research that has been done so far demonstrates that the use of Red Light Therapy can have a significant impact on the symptom of pain while simultaneously supporting the healing of damaged tissues.
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Thank you for your support. – Jade Hamilton