(Gouty arthritis) is a condition caused by a buildup of the salts of uric acid – a normal byproduct of the diet in the joints. A single big toe joint is commonly the affected area, possibly because it is subject to so much pressure in walking; attacks of gouty arthritis are extremely painful, perhaps more so than any other form of arthritis. Men are much more likely to be afflicted than women.
Some research suggests that diet heavy in red meat, rich sauces, shellfish, and brandy is popularly associated with gout. However, other protein compounds in foods such as lentils and beans may play a role. The main symptom of gout is waking up in the middle of the night with an acute throbbing pain in the big toe, which is swollen. Usually only one of the big toes is affected. The pain lasts for around three or four hours and will then subside and usually not return for a few months. It can be controlled by prescribed medications. The application of ice or cooling lotions will help during an acute phase. Specially-made shoes can sometimes relieve the pain associated with gout.
Types & Causes of Gout
What Are The Types Of Gout?
This ailment is of four types which are also regarded as the four stages of gout.
• Asymptomatic Hyperuricemia – There are elevated levels of uric acid in the blood but no other symptoms in this stage.
• Acute Gout – The uric acid starts to deposit in the body’s joints causing swelling, pain, and tenderness. The gout attack usually starts at night and lasts for 3-10 days.
• Interval Gout – This phase is in between the acute gout attacks when the patient has no symptoms.
• Chronic Tophaceous Gout – With prolonged accumulation of uric acid, permanent damage is caused to the joints. Gout arthritis in this stage is very painful, but it is very rare that people progress to this stage (1).
What Are The Causes Of Gout?
Gout does not have specific causes but many factors increase the risk of developing this painful disease. These risk factors are given below –
• Genetics – A family history of gout increases your chances of developing it
• Age And Gender – Older men are more prone to getting gout
• Weight – If you are overweight, the chances of you developing gout are higher
• Diet – Eating food that is high in purine content like beef kidneys, liver, herring, mushrooms, scallops, asparagus, anchovies, etc. can increase chances of gout attacks
• Alcohol Consumption – Too much alcohol affects the body’s mechanism to eliminate uric acid
• Health issues such as hypothyroidism, high BP, Kelley-Seegmiller syndrome or Lesch-Nyhan syndrome can increase chances of developing gout
• Certain medications like diuretics, cyclosporine, niacin, etc. are also risk factors for gout.