Home Women's Health What Is Gout? – HealthyWomen

What Is Gout? – HealthyWomen

What Is Gout? – HealthyWomen


Medically reviewed by Paula Tanasa, M.D.

In the event you’ve ever woken within the night time with a gout assault, or flare, you know the way painful it may be. Gout causes ache in joints, typically for the primary time within the huge toe — and this ache can come and go all through life. For some, managing these flare-ups will be difficult.

Right here’s what you want to find out about gout — what it’s, the way it’s managed and how one can take steps to forestall long-term issues.

What’s gout?

Gout is a kind of inflammatory arthritis that causes painful flare-ups. Though the principle symptom related to gout is ache within the joints, and mostly the massive toe, gout is a severe illness that may have unfavorable impacts nearly anyplace within the physique. Gout may also flare up in your elbows, wrists, fingers, knees and ankles — and even your backbone. It occurs when there’s a buildup of uric acid within the blood that causes needle-like crystals to type within the bones, joints, kidneys, coronary heart and eyes, which may trigger harm over time.

Excessive ranges of uric acid don’t all the time imply you’ll get gout. Round 2 in 3 individuals who’ve increased ranges of uric acid don’t have gout flares.

Gout impacts males extra typically however ladies can get gout — 5 in 100 individuals with gout are ladies. It is because ladies naturally have decrease uric acid ranges in comparison with males, and the feminine hormone estrogen helps the physique push uric acid out by urine. Ranges of uric acid are inclined to rise after menopause when estrogen ranges drop, which will increase the possibilities of gout.

Up to now, gout was referred to as a “illness of lords” or a “illness of kings,” because it was related to rich males. That has led to quite a lot of misconceptions and stigma surrounding the situation and many individuals struggling in silence or feeling blamed for dwelling with the illness.

Gout will be misdiagnosed as one other type of inflammatory arthritis reminiscent of pseudogout, the place there’s joint ache and swelling, but it surely’s attributable to calcium build-up, not uric acid.

How do you get gout?

Uric acid is produced in your physique when purines break down. Purines are discovered naturally within the physique, but additionally are in sure meals. Your kidneys usually flush out further uric acid, but when they don’t, uric acid can construct up all through your physique. That’s why individuals with continual kidney illness or lowered kidney perform have a better threat for gout.

Danger elements for gout embrace:

  • Genetics (a household historical past)
  • Sure well being circumstances like kidney illness, weight problems, metabolic syndrome or hypertension
  • Taking sure drugs, reminiscent of immunosuppressants or diuretics (water capsules)
  • A food regimen wealthy in meals which are excessive in purines like pink meat, liver, sure seafoods, alcohol and sugary drinks

Regardless of what individuals assume, food regimen just isn’t the principle reason for gout, and many individuals who eat wholesome and don’t drink alcohol nonetheless develop gout. Genetics, household historical past and lowered kidney perform are the principle elements resulting in the event of gout.

Sure communities of coloration are additionally at increased threat of the illness. Gout is most typical amongst Black Individuals; Asian Individuals and Asian Pacific Islanders even have a better threat of the illness.

What are the signs of gout?

Signs of gout embrace:

  • Sudden and extreme ache, typically within the huge toe, but additionally within the small joints of the ft and fingers, knees, ankles, wrists and elbows
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Heat

These signs are worse within the first 4 to 12 hours after they start. If gout just isn’t managed, flare-ups can begin taking place extra typically and last more.

It’s essential to deal with gout as a result of uncontrolled gout may cause different well being issues. These embrace:

  • Joint and bone harm, together with erosion of the joints and bones
  • Joint nodules or gouty lumps, often called tophi, on the fingers, fingers, ft, elbows or again of the ankle. Tophi come from uric acid build-up that may get swollen and tender throughout flare-ups.
  • Kidney stones and growth or worsening of continual kidney illness from uric acid build-up within the urinary tract

The build-up of uric acid can result in everlasting harm within the bones and joints, in addition to a better threat of heart problems.

How lengthy does gout final?

Individuals with gout can expertise flares that final for 1 to 2 weeks. These typically observe a time frame with no signs, often called remission. However, even if you’re not having a painful flare, the uric acid can nonetheless be build up within the physique.

A gout flare might solely occur as soon as in your life, or it may well turn into continual and progressively worsen over time. This may trigger everlasting harm all through the physique after a number of years of no remedy.

How is gout handled?

Gout remedy entails managing flares and stopping future flares and long-term issues reminiscent of joint harm. It’s a good suggestion to go to a gout specialist should you’re having signs as a result of gout signs can appear like different inflammatory circumstances that trigger joint swelling, like rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatologists are medical doctors who specialise in treating gout. Many nephrologists (kidney specialists) additionally deal with the illness due to its impression on the kidneys.

Totally different drugs can be utilized to deal with gout and forestall long-term harm to your joints. Anti-inflammatory drugs reminiscent of ibuprofen (Advil), steroids (as capsules or intra-articular injection, injected instantly into the joint area) or colchicine (a prescription anti-inflammatory) may help scale back ache and swelling throughout a flare-up. To deal with the basis reason for gout — extra uric acid — you may take medication to decrease the uric acid ranges in your blood, which may help scale back the chance of issues.

There are additionally issues you are able to do by yourself to assist stop flare-ups, together with:

  • Weight-reduction plan adjustments: Limiting high-purine meals and consuming an general nutritious diet of vegatables and fruits, complete grains, nuts and unprocessed meals.
  • Limiting alcohol consumption, particularly beer
  • Lowering the quantity of drinks that comprise excessive ranges of sugar, as analysis reveals it may well contribute to uric acid manufacturing
  • Sustaining a wholesome weight by getting common train half-hour a day, 5 days every week that’s straightforward on the joints. This may embrace strolling, biking and swimming.

Some individuals might have gout that persists even after taking oral drugs. If that’s the case for you, it’s a good suggestion to ask your healthcare supplier about your different choices.

Learn how to discuss gout together with your healthcare supplier

Maintain in touch together with your HCP about your signs and advocate for what you want. It’s a good suggestion to maintain a log of your flares that features:

  • Ache depth
  • Location of the ache
  • When it began
  • Stressors you’re presently experiencing
  • The impression of flares in your work, relationships and each day life

Write down an inventory of questions you may talk about together with your HCP. These may embrace:

  • Is my uric acid degree regular and, if not, what can I do to decrease it?
  • What may be inflicting my gout?
  • Ought to I see a rheumatologist?
  • What are the unwanted effects of the drugs you need me to take?
  • When ought to I see an enchancment in my signs?
  • How lengthy do I should be on medicine?
  • How can I handle my different well being circumstances with gout?
  • Are there assets you may present to assist handle the situation?

There’s no treatment for gout, however working with an HCP to deal with the situation, taking drugs as directed and practising self-management methods can all assist handle your situation.

This useful resource was created with help from Horizon Therapeutics.

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