Gout is an arthritic condition that causes inflammation of the joints. It mostly affects men over 40 and is usually associated with chronic hyperuricemia, a long-lasting abnormally high concentration of uric acid in the blood. The process leading to hyperuricemia and gout begins with the metabolism of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that are important for energy. Purines can be divided into two types:
Alternative Names of Gout are: Hyperuricemia; Uric Acid
Complications of Gout
Gout rarely poses a long-term health threat if properly treated. It does, however, remain a source of short-term pain and incapacity for thousands of Americans.
Other Medical Conditions Associated with Gout-
The following are some conditions that are associated with long-term gout:
Causes of Gout
Uric acid is generated as the body's tissues are broken down during normal cell turnover. Some people with gout generate too much uric acid (10%). Other patients with gout do not effectively eliminate their uric acid into the urine (90%). Genetics, gender, and nutrition (alcoholism, obesity) play key roles in the development of gout.
Attacks of gouty arthritis can be precipitated when there is a sudden change in uric acid levels, which may be caused by
Signs & Symptoms of Gout
Gout generally occurs in four (4) stages (asymptomatic, acute, intercritical and chronic) and has the following signs and symptoms:
Asymptomatic stage - urate levels rise in the blood, but produce no symptoms
Acute stage - symptoms usually lasting five to 10 days
Intercritical stage - symptom-free intervals between gout episodes. Most people have a second attack from six months to two years, while others are symptom-free for five to 10 years.
Diagnosis of Gout
The diagnosis of gout is based on symptoms, blood tests showing high levels of uric acid, and the finding of urate crystals in joint fluid. In chronic gout, x-rays show damage to the cartilage and bones.
Treatments of Gout
Currently, there is no cure for gout, but through proper diet, a healthy lifestyle and medications, the symptoms of gout can be relieved and further episodes eliminated.
Using medications for gout can be complicated, because the treatment needs to be tailored for each person and may need to be changed from time to time.
To relieve the pain and swelling of an acute attack, the doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), colchicine, corticosteroid drugs, and/or adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).
To prevent future attacks, the doctor may recommend colchicine, probenecid (Benemid, Parbenem or Probalan), sulfinpyrazone (Anturane), or allopurinol (Lopurin, Zurinol or Zyloprim).
To prevent or treat tophi, probenecid, sulfinpyrazone and allopurinol are recommended.
All of these drugs are powerful, so the patient needs to understand why they are taking them, what side effects may occur and what to do if they have problems with the medication
Prevention of Gout
To lower risk factors, consider:
When to seek Medical Advice
If you experience sudden, intense pain in a joint, call your doctor. Gout that goes untreated can lead to worsening pain and joint damage. Seek medical care immediately if you have a fever and a joint is hot and inflamed, which can be a sign of infection.