What causes Gout?
Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is a waste product that is produced when the body breaks down the food(e.g. meat) we eat. Uric acid is excreted in urine.
There two reasons why people may have high levels of uric acid in their blood.
1. Some people with gout generate too much uric acid (about 10% of those affected) and are medically referred to as “over-producers.”
2. Other people with gout do not effectively eliminate their uric acid into the urine (90%) and are medically referred to as “under-excreters”
Due to high levels of uric acid in the blood, some of the acid turn into needle shaped crystals called urate crystals. These crystals accumulate in the joints and cause painful inflammation of joints.
What are the symptoms of Gout?
According to an article written by a Mayo Clinic staff, the signs and symptoms of gout are almost always acute, occurring suddenly often at night and without warning. The most common symptoms include
Intense joint pain-Gout usually affects the large joint of your big toe, but it can also occur in your feet, ankles, knees, hands and even wrists.“My left big toe felt like it was on fire and the pain got worse at night”, a 36 year old female commented on Medical News Today.
Inflammation and redness-The affected joint or joints become swollen, tender and red.
Less flexibility – The affected joint may be harder to use and the patient has limited movement.
Fever-Some people are said to incur elevated temperature
How is it treated?
For treatment it is necessary to visit your doctor if you experience the symptoms I have already mentioned.
However if you are scared of or you hate hospitals, there are some self-help measures you can try out at home to ease the pain and inflammation. These include
- Raise and rest your limb.
- Use a splint to immobilize the joint.
- Avoid vigorous exercise.
- Keep the joint cool by applying an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel. NB: Do not apply directly to your skin without a towel as this could damage your skin.
- Do not cover the joint
Image Credit : Singapore Sports and Orthopaedics Clinic