What is gout?
Gout is a form of arthritis that causes redness, swelling, and pain that comes suddenly in the joints of your body. Sometimes there are also laymen who call it gout, but this is not entirely correct.
The big toe is the part most often affected by gout, but this disease can also affect other joints in the foot, such as knees, ankles, soles. Gout also sometimes occurs in the arms, hands, wrists, and elbows. The spine can also be affected though rarely.
Although gout can be a chronic disease, this condition can be cured and prevented from recurring. This condition can be managed by reducing several lifestyle factors. Please discuss with your doctor for more information.
How common is gout?
Gout occurs in about 1 in 200 adults. This condition can affect everyone, regardless of age and gender, but men are more likely to experience it than women.
Usually, this gout occurs in the 30-50 years age group in men, while in women more often found in those who have experienced menopause. Meanwhile, the age group of adolescents and children very rarely experience this disease.
Signs & Symptoms
What are the symptoms of gout?
In some cases, gout does not show any symptoms at first. Symptoms of gout usually begin to appear when the patient has experienced an acute or chronic condition. The most common symptoms are:
- Joint pain is severe and sudden, which often occurs first in the morning
- Swollen and soft joints
- Reddish joints
- The burning sensation around the joint
Gout symptoms usually appear suddenly, unpredictable, and often occur in the middle of the night. Most gout symptoms only occur within a few hours for 1-2 days. But in severe cases, pain in the joints can occur within weeks. If you experience these symptoms, then the gout you have is quite severe.
Meanwhile, there are also those who experience symptoms of gout for up to 6-12 months - in different intensities each day. This condition, quite severe, and if you experience it, it is better immediately consult a doctor.
There may be signs and symptoms not mentioned above. If you have a concern about a specific symptom, consult your doctor.
What are the stages of gout?
There are three stages of gout based on its severity, namely:
- First stage . At this stage uric acid levels have risen in the blood, but no symptoms of gout appear. You may never experience symptoms of gout. Usually, people who experience this, will only feel the symptoms of gout the first time after he was attacked by kidney stone disease.
- Second stage . Upon entering the second stage, the uric acid levels that are too high have formed crystals that usually occur in the toes. At this stage, you will only feel aches and pains in your joints, but this will not last long. After a while, you will experience other symptoms of gout with an intensity and frequency that is increasingly frequent.
- Third stage . In this third stage, the symptoms of gout don't go away and the uric acid crystals that form don't just attack a single joint. In fact, in this stage will appear lumps of these substances that have crystallized under the skin. This condition causes more severe pain and can damage cartilage.
Most people who suffer from this disease only experience one or two stages. It is quite rare for people who suffer from gout to be found to have reached the third stage, because most of the second stage of gout symptoms can be handled properly.
When should I see a doctor?
If you experience some of the symptoms mentioned above, check with your doctor immediately to receive treatment immediately. Gout can cause joint damage if left untreated.
If you have a fever and your joints are hot and inflamed, seek medical attention because it can be a sign of infection.
What can be the cause of gout?
So in fact, the cause of gout is the level of uric acid itself which is too much in the body. Under normal circumstances, these chemicals will be released by the body through urine and feces.
However, in people who experience gout, the amount of uric acid is too much and cannot be processed by the body. Eventually, these substances will form crystals and accumulate around the joints, causing inflammation.
Then what is the cause of high uric acid in the body? The cause of too high uric acid is too often and consume lots of foods containing purines. Purine is a chemical that is produced naturally by the body, but is also contained in several types of food.
When someone consumes foods that contain purines, the body will process them into gout. So, the more you eat foods that contain purines, the higher your risk for gout.
What increases my risk for gout?
Eating too much food containing purines can indeed be the main cause of gout. But actually there are various other risk factors that can make you experience gout.
What are the risk factors for gout?
- Age and gender . Although it is not yet known why, gout is more experienced by men than women. Meanwhile, older people are also more susceptible to this disease than young adults.
- Family health history . If you have a family member who has gout, then you are also more likely to experience the same thing. Although this is not the main cause of gout, but by knowing your family's medical history, you can be more alert to this disease.
- Excessive weight gain . Having a weight that exceeds normal, can increase the risk of developing this disease. People who have a body mass index of more than 25 kg / m2 must be more vigilant to get gout.
- Taking certain medicines . Some types of drugs that you consume can cause uric acid to accumulate in the body, for example:
- Aspirin, this painkiller will increase the risk of gout if taken routinely 1-2 tablets per day.
- Diuretic medicine, which is usually used to treat fluid buildup in the body.
- Chemotherapy drug, which is used to treat various cancers.
- Drugs that can decrease the immune system, such as cyclosporine.
Diagnosis & medication
How do doctors diagnose gout?
Gout is often misleading because most of the symptoms are almost the same as the symptoms of other diseases. Sometimes, even though the amount of uric acid has been high, no symptoms of gout appear. Therefore, if someone is suspected of having gout, then there are several tests that are recommended to be carried out, namely:
- Joint fluid test . This examination is done by taking swollen joint fluid using a syringe.
- Blood test . This test aims to determine whether the amount of uric acid is high or not in the blood.
- Urine test . In addition to blood tests, these chemicals will be seen in the levels in your urine. If it is not normal, then you are very likely to experience gout.
- X-rays . Gout sufferers need to do x-rays to see further the cause of inflammation that occurs in the joints.
- CT scan . This examination can detect where the crystalline pile is located, although it does not cause symptoms.
Can gout cure this disease?
There is no gout remedy that can make a person free from this disease forever. Even so, do not worry, gout can be consumed to control and alleviate the symptoms that arise.
So, if you want to avoid future attacks of gout, you must be obedient to take gout medication prescribed by your doctor and live a healthy lifestyle.
The symptoms that appear can be treated by taking the following gout medications:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for treating sudden and severe attacks of gout. Examples of this type of gout are ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, and etoricoxib.
- Steroids can be used as alternative gout medicines besides NSAIDs. This type of drug is available in oral or injection form which can be directly inserted into the joints. For example, prednisone and methylprednisone.
- Colchicine helps reduce the risk of recurrence. Your doctor will prescribe this gout medication, if NSAID is not right for you. But in some cases the side effects of this drug can cause diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps.
- Drugs that control the level of uric acid in the blood such as allopurinol, probenecid, and febuxostat.
What are the complications that might occur if you do not take gout?
If gout sufferers do not take gout regularly, the symptoms will feel worse. In fact, it is not impossible for this disease to cause other health problems, such as:
- Tophi This condition is characterized by a buildup of crystals under the skin surface. Typically, these lumps will appear around the toes, knees, fingers, and ears. If not handled properly, the tophi will get bigger and bigger.
- Joint damage . If the patient ignores the suggestion to take gout, it is not impossible that the joint will be permanently damaged. This condition increases the risk of injury and other bone and joint health problems.
- Kidney stones . Crystal buildup does not only occur in the joints. If uric acid is not treated properly, the crystals can accumulate in the kidneys. This will make the kidneys have stones and block the flow of urine out.
What should I do if I already have gout?
Not only do you need to take your gout regularly, but you also have to abide by various restrictions. Abstinence is important to do gout to prevent recurrence in the future.
What are the restrictions for gout sufferers?
Actually, the most important thing about gout is to avoid things that can cause gout to appear. Then, what are the abstinence gout that must be obeyed?
1. Eat foods that are high in purines
Purines can actually be found in various foods. But in abstinence from gout, you only have to avoid foods with high purines such as organ meats, meat broth, sausages, ducks, and various types of seafood . Meanwhile, foods that must be limited are:
- Meat and chicken that can only be 50 grams per day
- Green beans, soybeans, and peanuts that may be consumed as much as 25 grams in one day
- Some kinds of vegetables, for example, spinach, kale, beans, cauliflower, leaves and seeds of gnetum, each of which should only be eaten as much as 100 grams per day.
Not all foods become taboo gout, really. There are some foods that are safe for consumption, even recommended like foods that are low in fat, fruits that contain vitamin C and potassium, such as apples and bananas that can help you avoid recurrence of gout.
2. Not regulate eating patterns properly
Other abstinence of gout that must be considered is to manage and regulate eating patterns properly. Not only on a low purine diet, however, you should also avoid foods that contain high fat and sugar. Besides being bad for health, these foods make your weight scales easily jump.
3. Not drinking enough water
Rarely drinking water is the next taboo for gout. You must keep your body well hydrated by drinking enough water. Try to drink more water, rather than water that has a sweet taste.
4. Do not exercise regularly
Just staying at home or lazing in the room is one of the abstinence of gout that you must obey, if you don't want to relapse. Regular exercise can make you maintain ideal body weight. The more you gain weight due to laziness to move, the more frequent gout attacks that you can experience in the future.
All abstinence is important for you to do gout if you do not want to feel aches and pains in the joints. However, it is possible that even if you comply with gout restrictions, symptoms can appear later on. If this happens, then do the following ways to resolve it:
- Lift the affected leg gout to reduce swelling
- Apply an ice pack to the inflamed joint for about 20 minutes
- Repeat as often as needed but make sure the temperature of the compressed part has returned to normal before repeating it again.
If you have questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
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Reviewed: April 12, 2019 | Last Edited: April 12, 2019