Gout: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

What is gout?

Gout is an inflammatory form of arthritis that develops in people with high levels of uric acid and affects one or more joints in the body. In fact, severe gout can affect many joints in the body together all at once. This condition is known as polyarticular gout. Gout is usually accompanied by the uric acid symptoms of joint redness, swollen joints, joint pain, and a sensation of warmth in the affected joints.

Normal uric acid levels are 2.4-6.0 mg/dL (female) and 3.4-7.0 mg/dL (male), though the values may vary from laboratory to laboratory. When the blood uric acid level rises above 7mg/dL problems such as kidney stones and gout occur.


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How does gout occur?


Uric acid is produced from the natural breakdown of your body's cells and from the foods you eat. The kidneys help to filter out uric acid from the body which then passes out of the body in urine.

If there is an excessive build-up of uric acid in the body and the kidneys are not able to filter it all out naturally, the level of uric acid in the body rises. High levels of uric acid in the blood can cause uric acid crystals to form in the joints. This causes the painful condition called gout.


Who is prone to gout?


Certain people are more prone to gout than others, they include:

  • People who eat a diet high in meat and seafood constantly.
  • People who overindulge in drinking alcohol.
  • People who suffer from medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • People who have a family history of gout.
  • Women after menopause may develop symptoms of gout since the uric acid levels in women tend to rise after menopause.
  • People who had surgery recently may be susceptible to gout.
  • People who suffer from obesity.  
  • People with insufficient kidney function are at increased risk for gout.

What are the causes of gout?


The causes of gout or of high uric acid include:

  • high levels of uric acid in the body 
  • a family history of gout
  • certain medicines, which can increase uric acid levels in the body
  • constantly consuming a diet rich in red meat and seafood
  • overindulgence in alcohol
  • starvation and dehydration
  • chemotherapy

What are the symptoms of gout? How is gout diagnosed?


The most common symptoms of gout are:

  • sudden and severe pain in a particular joint, usually in early mornings or in the middle of the night
  • joint tenderness
  • a sensation of warmth in the affected joints
  • stiffness in the joint
  • swollen joints

Diagnosis


If you suspect that you suffer from symptoms of gout you can visit your family physician or any general doctor. A general physician usually treats gout, however, if your condition is too severe he may refer you to a rheumatologist.

Gout may be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be vague and could be from other conditions. The following tests could be suggested by your doctor to diagnose gout:

  • Joint fluid test: To conduct this test your doctor draws a sample of synovial fluid from your joint. The fluid is examined under a microscope for uric acid crystals. The joint fluid may also be cultured to see if bacteria grow from it.
  • Blood test: A blood test will help to measure the levels of uric acid and creatinine in your blood.
  • X-ray imaging:  X-rays of joints can be helpful to rule out other causes of joint inflammation.
  • Ultrasound: Urate crystals can be detected in a joint with the help of an ultrasound.
  • Dual-energy CT scan:  This test though not often performed, can detect the presence of urate crystals in a joint, even when it is not acutely inflamed.


What are the complications of gout?


Some complications of gout include:

  • Kidney stones
  • Tophi, which is a condition that occurs when deposits of urate crystals form under the skin in nodules in areas of the body such as fingers, hands, feet, elbows or Achilles tendons along the backs of your ankles.
  • Joint damage which can occur due to recurrent gout


What is the treatment for gout?


Medical Treatment for Gout

Medical treatment for gout usually involves medicines. Your doctor will prescribe medicines based on your current health condition.

Medications for gout are usually prescribed to treat prevent future acute attacks and reduce the risk of complications.


Exercise

People often wonder how can they exercise if they suffer from gout since the joints are so painful and sensitive.

However, keep in mind inactivity can make you less flexible, and weaken your joints and muscles. This can result in bone loss and further intensify the symptoms of gout. Exercising will keep you fit and healthy and help you to maintain an ideal body weight. Exercising will increase your energy and make your bones, joints and muscles strong. Else if you suffer from gout the bones and joints deteriorate over time.

Before deciding on an exercise regimen make sure to consult your doctor and find out if the kind of exercises you are interested in are suitable for you.

Some of the exercises that you can opt for are yoga, Tai Chi, low impact aerobic exercises, dancing, cycling, swimming.

Would you like to consult a doctor for Gout ?

Patient Experiences

maheshwari
Good Treatment for Gout
Good treatment. visited doctor with severe foot pain problem. Shown at many places. Liked the way doctor approched my problems. Examined my footwear n gait , advised corrections. With few investigations got my problem detected. I was thoroughly explained about the uric acid issues. Got a comprehensive advice regarding diet , medication, footwear, exercises. Amazed by the detailed description of everything from diagnosis to treatment. Thank you doctor garu.....Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Ashwin Kasturi
Orthopedic Clinic
LAVKUSH PRAJAPATI
Good Result in 15 Days For Gout
I am suffering from Fatty liver, Gout. Due to that I am losing my job nearly. the conditions are getting worse day by day. I got the reference of Dr. Laxman Jonwal he is really a good doctor who treated me sincerely giving me full attention. I got very good result in just 15 days by NAP Therapy & medicines. Thanks to Dr. Laxman & his team...Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Laxman G. Jonwal
Dr Jonwal's Niramay Ayush Panchkarm Health Institute & Research Centre
Sudha Sharma
Excellent Treatment
excellent treatment i am sufffered from gouty, arthritis since last 14 year. now i am very comfortable to walk without pain after taking 1 month treatment. i am very satisfied....Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Mahendra Kumar
Shri Ram Homoeopathic Speciality Center

Questions answered by trusted doctors

Verified User
This time the pain is at the ankle bone ( back side). My doubt is this pseudo gout
Dr. Devesh Bandil
Orthopedist, Gwalior
Hello there Well gout or pseudo gout depends upon the presence of crystals in the lesion Well you should get yourself thoroughly examined by the nearest orthopedics or rheumatology doctor
Verified User
My mother have gout problem from last 8 year and her RA test is 412. She can't do anything. Kindly suggest some good doctor in homeopathic. We are located in Mira road Mumbai.
Dr. Venkat Raghav
General Physician, Bangalore
Hello, Gout is a kind of arthritis. It can cause an attack of sudden burning pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint, usually a big toe. Gout is caused by too much uric acid in the blood. The goals of treatment for gout are fast pain relief and prevention of future gout attacks and long-term complications, Being overweight increases your risk for gout. She should limit meat and seafood. Diets high in meat and seafood (high-purine foods) can raise uric acid levels.
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Did you know?

Gout in children and women

Gout rarely occurs in children and in women before menopause.

Gout in India

65% of the gout patients in India are from middle socioeconomic class.

Gout in men

Gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in men (5-27 per 1000 men).

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Home Remedies

Take Apple Cider Vinegar

Consuming apple cider vinegar helps to make your body become more alkaline which helps relieve acute gout pain. You can take 1-2 tablespoons of raw unfiltered and organic apple cider vinegar in a full glass of of water and drink it early morning on empty stomach. You can also drink this mix twice a day for better results. To get relief from pain you can also soak your foot for about 30 minutes in a bucket full of 4 cups of hot water and 1 cup of apple cider vinegar.

Drink Lemon Juice

Another natural home remedy that helps to alkalize your body which in turn reduces uric acid in the blood, is drinking lemon juice. Drink at least 3 glasses per day.

Drink Orange Juice

Drink at least three glasses of orange juice everyday. Keep in mind that numerous studies have shown how vitamin C is effective in lowering uric acid levels in your blood.

Epsom Salt

Before taking a bath, simply add 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salt in your bath and soak your entire body or affected joint, for at least 30 minutes. Epsom salt is known to relax muscles, aches and pains. The presence of magnesium in epsom salts which is an alkaline mineral helps to treat gout. Please Note: Epsom salt baths may not be suitable for those suffering from kidney problems or diabetes.

Reduce Intake of Foods With High Amounts of Purine

The primary dietary goal for gout is to limit your intake of foods with high amounts of purine in them. Foods high in purine content include: fishes high in oils seafood and shellfish, including anchovies, sardines, mackerel, scallops, herring, mussels, codfish, trout, and haddock meats such as bacon, turkey, veal, venison, liver, beef kidney, brain sweetbreads alcoholic beverages

Drink A Lot Of Water

Drink atleast 8 to 10 glasses of water per day which will flush out the uric acid from your body. Staying hydrated prevents gout flares.
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