Gout is a kind of arthritis. Gout is a condition which mostly affects the ‘big toe’. In Gout, the skin becomes red, hot, swollen and tender especially under the big toe and near the joints like the wrists, ankles and knees. The most affected part is the big toe. The condition is characterized by the presence of recurring inflammation of the area affected.
Gout is caused due to high levels of uric acid in the blood which may be due to:
- Genetics or Heredity
- Diet which includes more of meat and fish and Alcohol
- Under excretion of salts and urates from Urine or less urination
- Any other medical condition
The symptoms of Gout are:
- Swelling, tenderness, redness and pain in the big toe especially at night
- Gout also attacks the foot, ankle and knees
- Attacks may recur and last for days and weeks after a gap of months or a year
A simple physical examination by the doctor may reveal the condition of Gout. The doctor may ask you about the symptoms that you feel.
- Sometimes fluid from the joints is taken for test to see check the presence of uric acid crystals which is the best test for Gout.
- Blood test to check for uric acid levels in blood is also advised.
The Rheumatologist and/or Orthopedic Advisors are the experts to consult in the case of Gout.
The risk factors include:
- More men than women are affected by Gout
- Family history including diabetes
- Being obese
- Consumption of alcohol especially beer
- Diet rich in purines found in meat and fish
- Regular use of aspirin, dehydration, joint injury and exposure to lead [by work or diet].
As the condition of Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood and body, avoiding the risk factors may reduce the chances of developing this condition especially if it is due to diet, alcohol and being obese.
If there is a heredity factor or some other underlying medical condition then avoiding risk factors may help minimize the discomfort.
The condition of Gout is most of the times ‘self inflicted’ because of diet. In the olden days, Gout was known as a ‘rich man’s disease’. Unlike other forms of arthritis where the causes are difficult to arrive at, Gout is very easily defined, hence can be managed in a better way.
Gout is the simplest form of arthritis and which is surprisingly curable to a large extent, simply by making lifestyle changes which include less of meat and fish and alcohol and reducing of weight.
The example of Actor-Singer Jared Leto shows us how Gout can be overcome. Jared Leto had to gain weight to play a character by overeating.
Hence he became a victim of painful Gout but soon overcame it, by adopting a well balanced diet and losing weight.