Symptoms of Gout: How to Know if You’re a Sufferer

Gout is a painful condition that can become serious if it is not caught and treated at an early stage. High levels of uric acid build up in the blood of people suffering from gout, causing a variety of unpleasant symptoms. Here you can read about the symptoms of gout to find out whether you are a sufferer and what treatments are available to you.

  • Painful joints: The main symptom of gout is painful joints, particularly the joints in the legs and feet. Typically, pain starts in the big toe, but it also commonly starts in the ankle or knee. A joint affected by gout is usually so tender that even touching it gently is painful, and it might also be difficult to move.
  • Swollen, red joints: As well as pain, joints affected by gout swell up and are often surrounded by skin that is red or even purple. The surrounding skin is sometimes itchy.
  • Fever: Gout is sometimes accompanied by a fever. However, not having a fever doesn’t mean you don’t have gout, as not everyone has this symptom.
  • Nodules: Nodules, known as tophi, sometimes appear on the hands or elbows. These firm, movable lumps under the skin will only usually occur if you have had gout for several years. Early treatment can help you avoid developing tophi.
  • Recurrent attacks: Symptoms of gout usually go away after a few days, but it is important not to ignore them. Half of all people who have an attack of gout will have at least one more attack in the future.

Gout Diagnosis

If you have symptoms of gout, see your healthcare provider as soon as possible. He or she can carry out tests to measure the amount of uric acid in your blood and urine. Other tests such as X-rays of the joints or analysis of the fluid in the joints might be needed to confirm gout and rule out other conditions such as arthritis.

You are more likely to have gout if you are a man or a woman who has passed through the menopause. Your risk is increased if you drink alcohol, are obese, or have diabetes, kidney disease, sickle cell anemia or leukemia.

Gout Treatment

Various drugs can be used to treat gout. To head off a gout attack, you should take anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen as soon as you start feeling symptoms. A strong painkiller such as colchicine (which also reduces swelling) or codeine can help, but don’t use painkillers as a way of struggling on through a gout attack: you need to get plenty of rest and keep the affected joint elevated to have a swift recovery.

Your doctor might prescribe other drugs such as allopurinol or probenecid to help manage gout. These drugs reduce uric acid levels in the blood to prevent gout attacks. Your doctor might tell you to take one of these drugs everyday if your gout attacks happen several times a year and are quite severe.

If medication does not help, your doctor may be able to relieve your gout symptoms by injecting steroids into the affected joints. This treatment quickly reduces swelling in the joints.

Lifestyle changes can also make your gout symptoms less severe and make the attacks happen less frequently. Avoiding alcohol and limiting the amount of meat you eat can have a positive impact on gout symptoms. Swapping fatty foods for carbohydrates, drinking plenty of water, and limiting your intake of purine-rich foods, including liver, kidneys, oily fish, asparagus and mushrooms, are also changes that can help.

Losing weight can help to reduce the symptoms of gout, but you should aim to shed the weight gradually; losing weight too quickly can cause the uric acid in the blood to crystallize into kidney stones.

Author Bio:

Alexander Bohan contributed this guest post for NaturesBest.co.uk. Alexander is studying naturopathy. He is also a freelance writer who enjoys writing on various natural health blogs.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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2 Comments

  • Soniya Sharma@Anti aging treatment October 12, 2012 11.00 am

    Hello Dear

    Really very informative post yes i am totally agree with you gout is painful condition yes you are right losing weight can help to reduce the symptoms of gout thanks for the sharing me

    Thanks & regards
    Soniya

    Reply 
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