Gout is a condition that causes swelling and pain in the joints, and anti-inflammatory painkillers can offer quick relief. Certain lifestyle factors can reduce the risk of a gout attack, such as weight loss, healthy diet and decreased reliance on alcoholic and sugary drinks. If gout is recurrent, medication for gout with allopurinol and/or vitamin C can help.
What Causes Gout?
Uric acid causes gout attacks; it's usually harmless and is naturally made. Most uric acid is excreted in the urine, but those with gout suffer from uric acid buildup. Periodically, uric acid levels become high enough to form crystals in the joints, which can cause pain and swelling.
Reasons for Uric Acid Buildup
Normally, the body strikes a balance between its uric acid levels and the amount to be excreted. However, in those with gout, the kidneys don't excrete enough uric acid and blood-borne levels may rise. Uric acid buildup can be due to these other factors:
Excessive alcohol use
Insufficient vitamin C intake
Overuse of sugary drinks
Eating certain foods such as sardines and mussels
Illnesses such as psoriasis
Is Gout Common?
About 1 in 200 adults is afflicted with gout, with men being affected more often than women. Onset of gout typically occurs in middle age, but it can happen at an earlier age. Gout can be hereditary, as genetic factors can cause a person to under-excrete uric acid.
Gout symptoms usually manifest as attacks, which can come on over the course of hours. It typically causes pain in one joint, with the big toe being affected in many cases. However, gout can strike any joint in the body, and nearby skin may look inflamed. If not treated with gout remedies an attack can last for several days, but it usually goes away on its own.
There's a similar but usually less-painful condition called pseudogout, and it's caused by buildup of calcium pyrophosphate crystals in joints. While the big toe is commonly affected, pseudogout is often seen in the ankle, wrist and knee. It's more common after the age of 60 in both men and women, and it is easily treated with anti-inflammatory pain relievers.
With certain lifestyle changes, many gout sufferers only have to deal with the occasional attack. The only gout remedy a patient usually needs is to take an anti-inflammatory painkiller when required. However, attacks occur more frequently in some people; in those situations, a physician can prescribe a gout treatment medicine to prevent and diminish attacks.