Gout

Understanding the Signs and Symptoms of Gout

What is gout?

Gout is a complex form of arthritis that can affect anyone at any age. It is usually characterized by sudden sharp pain, and redness and tenderness of the joints. In some cases, and individual suffering from gout may also experience a fever. Gouty pain often affects the big toe, knee or ankle joints.

Although men are much more likely to get gout, women become more susceptible to the illness after menopause.

What causes gout pain?

Gouty arthritis occurs when uric acid builds up in the blood and causes joint inflammation. This can happen either when your body produces too much uric acid, or when your body has a difficult time getting rid of it. Uric acid is a chemical that is created when your body breaks down substances found in foods and drinks such as anchovies, beans and beer. High levels or uric acid in the body is referred to as hyperuricemia.

Treatment options

There are a couple different ways of treating gout. Physicians often prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to treat the symptoms of gouty arthritis such as ibuprofen. However, from individuals who have symptoms that recur often or experience them on a longer term basis, Zyloprim has also been used as a treatment. It works by lowering the levels of uric acid in your body, which decreases the likelihood of recurring symptoms.

Another popular treatment method is the use of cortisone shots. These are basically injections that are commonly given in joints such as your ankle, elbow, hip and knee. Treating gout in the earlier stages of the symptoms can lead to more beneficial results.

Gout

How to prevent flare ups

The first step to preventing painful flare ups is to cut out foods that contain purine, which is the substance that your body tries to break down when it creates uric acid.

In addition to anchovies, beans and beer, it can also be found in fatty red meats, organ meats such as liver, herring, mackerel and yeast.

Replacing these foods with ones that are high in antioxidants will help prevent flare ups. This can include cherries and blueberries.

Some individuals who suffer from the symptoms also incorporate dietary supplements into their eating routine. This can include the herbs Boswellia and Devil's Claw. These supplements can be found at your local health food store.