Gout: Stages and Treatment
Gout is considered as one of the most painful forms of arthritis and it is a condition caused by excess uric acid in the body. Its first documentation can be traced back to 2600 BC in Egypt, where it was referred to as “the king of diseases and the diseases of kings”. This is because it affected mainly the royalties who could afford a lot of meat and alcohol, unlike their servants whose diet consisted mainly of fruits and vegetables raised on the land.
Gout is a complex disorder, more common in men and also affects women who are past the age of menopause. Men are more highly affected because men typically have higher uric acid levels in their blood system than women. Uric acid doesn’t have much use in the human body and gout comes about when there is abnormal handling of the uric acid in the body, leading to its crystallization in the joints where it causes a lot of pain, and has the potential of causing other conditions such as kidney stones, as well as blocking of the kidney filtering system — a condition, which if not treated in good time, can lead to kidney failure.
The major symptom of gout which you should always watch out for is sudden severe pain in one or more joints, and most cases, the big toe. The other symptoms include:
- Hot and very tender sensation on the joints, to a point that they are completely unable to bear anything touching them.
- Swellings around the affected joints
- Purple or reddish skin around the affected joints
- Difficulty in moving the affected joints
- The skin around the affected joint may begin peel and itch when the gout begins to get better.
The different Stages of Gout
Gout comes in different stages and it is vital to understand the respective stages so that you are well informed of the appropriate remediation measure to adopt. The stages are as follows:
Asymptomatic hyperuricemia — this is the period before the first gout attack and it shows no symptoms whatsoever. At this point, the level of uric acid in the blood system is always high and crystallization is already happening in the joints.
Acute Gout or Gout Attack – this stage comes after the level of uric acid or the crystals formed in the joints increase due to certain triggers, like excessive alcohol consumption. It leads pain and inflammation mostly experienced at night. It is possible to feel the pain for up to 12 days, though the symptoms can always disappear between 7 and 10 days.
Interval Gout – Interval gout refers to the time between attacks where there is no pain. It is not an indication that the disease is gone, and it is usually the ideal time to take the necessary actions in remediating future attacks.
Chronic Gout – Chronic gout happens when the levels of uric acid in the body remains very high for a number of years. With it come more frequent attacks, extended pain, joint damage and potential loss of mobility on the affected joints. To prevent chronic gout, it is imperative to have the disease treated in good time and a change of lifestyle may also be very important.
Gout and Women after Menopause
Gout in women only occurs after menopause and usually after the age of 51 on average. At this stage, the woman’s body lowers its production of hormone estrogen which is believed to be vital in helping the kidney remove excess uric acid from the system. After menopause, therefore, the levels of uric acid in the woman’s body begin to increase, and soon thereafter, gout symptoms begin to occur. One way to reduce the occurrence of gout after menopause is to take estrogen as a therapy.
It is believed that about 70% of women who have gout attacks after menopause are also likely to be affected by preexisting joint conditions such as osteoarthritis compared to 37% men. Additionally, research has found that women with family history of gout are more susceptible to develop the condition at some point in their lives.
The treatment for gout in women is the same as men, with most of the prescriptions being colchicine, allopurinol, NSAIDs and febuxostat. It is also important to avoid alcohol and enhance certain lifestyle change such as maintaining ideal body weight, having regular exercise and following a healthy diet.
Finally, a popular product that many people with gout swear by is a dietary supplement called NutriGout which helps regulate uric acid levels. It has 6 powerful ingredients that include turmeric, milk thistle extract, dandelion extract, chanca piedra, bromelain from pineapple and celery seeds. Each capsule is 500 mg and you can take 1 to 2 capsules a day to help manage your uric acid. If anybody you love has gout, make sure to tell them to give NutriGout a try.
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