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Gout

What is Gout?

Gout in its simplest definition is a common arthritic inflammation of a joint.  Gout can be a very painful condition that usually begins or is noticed in the joints of the big toe first but can affect other joints as well. With gout, the joint inflammation is due to deposits of crystallized uric acid building up within the tissues of the joint.  The affected joint can become extremely tender and swollen.

  Joints affected with gout develop the disorder over a period of time, often years, as the crystals of uric acid deposit in the joint and surrounding tissue.  Gout is more predominate in men age 40 to 50.

 

Gout Symptoms

  • Joints that are painful, swollen or extremely tender.
  • Intense pain that begins during the night.
  • Discolored skin (purplish or red) around the joint.
  • Decreases mobility of the joint.
  • Stiffness in the joint.

If your suffering from gout symptoms, deposits of uric acid have formed in your joint and uric acid has already been built up in your blood.

Uric Acid

Uric acid is a normal chemical that resides in the human body in small amounts.  Uric acid is by product of the break down of purines.  Purines are natural to the bodies cells and when the cells die the purines are metabolized into uric acid.  Some foods can contain high levels of purines.

Uric acid is usually dissolved in the blood and filtered by the kidney's into urine.  If more uric acid is produced than can be filtered and eliminated by the kidney's it can result in elevated levels of uric in the blood (hyperuricemia). If left untreated the uric acid can crystallize in the joints and surrounding tissues resulting in gout.

Gout Treatment

To verify a gout diagnosis physicians can take a sample of synovial fluid from the inflamed joint and examine for the presence of uric acid crystals.  Doctors can also take blood sample to test for elevated levels of uric acid in the blood.

Initial treatment of an acute gout attack is to relief the symptoms of pain and stiffness, usually treated with anti-inflammatory drugs or steroid injections.

Decreasing uric acid blood levels can cure gout.

If left untreated gout symptoms may disappear within 5-7 days, but usually return within a year.  Chronic gout can ruin joints, cause deformed joints, and abnormal growths (tophi).

Gout in big toe

Gout usually begins in the joints of the  big toe.
 
 
Gout
 
Untreated gout causing excessive swelling of the
big toe joint.

 

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