Gout: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Tests and medical diagnosis

Gout can be challenging to diagnose as its symptoms, when they do manifest, resemble those of other conditions. While hyperuricemia happens in the majority of individuals that develop gout, it may not exist during a flare. On top of that, most of people with hyperuricemia do not develop gout.

One diagnostic test that medical professionals can carry out is the joint fluid test, where fluid is removed from the impacted joint with a needle. The fluid is then analyzed to see if any urate crystals exist.

As joint infections can also cause similar symptoms to gout, a doctor can try to find bacteria when carrying out a joint fluid test in order to rule a bacterial cause.

Medical professionals can also carry out a blood test to determine the levels of uric acid in the blood, but as specified, people with high uric acid levels do not constantly experience gout. Equally, some individuals can establish the symptoms of gout without having increased levels of uric acid in the blood.

Finally, physicians can look for urate crystals around joints or within a tophus.

One condition that is easily confused with gout is pseudogout. The symptoms of pseudogout are really just like those of gout, the difference being that the joints are irritated by calcium phosphate crystals instead of urate crystals. This implies that pseudogout requires different treatment to gout.

Treatment and prevention

The majority of gout cases are treated with medication. Medication can be utilized to deal with the symptoms of gout attacks, avoid future flares and decrease the risk of gout problems such as kidney stones and the development of tophi.

Typically utilized medications consist of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), colchicine or corticosteroids. These minimize inflammation and pain in the areas influenced by gout and are normally taken orally.

Medications can likewise be utilized to either minimize the production of uric acid (xanthine oxidase inhibitors such as allopurinol) or enhance the kidney’s ability to eliminate uric acid from the body (probenecid).

There are many lifestyle and dietary guidelines that can be followed to secure versus future flares or avoid gout from happening in the first instance:

  • Preserve a high fluid consumption (2-4 liters a day).
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Eat a well balanced diet.
  • Limit fish, meat and poultry intake.

Anybody aiming to attain and keep a healthy body weight to relieve gout ought to prevent low-carbohydrate diets. This is due to the fact that insufficient intake of carbohydrate means that the body is not able to properly burn fat stores, leading to the release of drugs called ketones into the bloodstream. This results in a condition called ketosis that can enhance the level of uric acid in the blood.

It is crucial to avoid foods that are high in purines, to ensure that the levels of uric acid in the blood do not get too high. Here is a list of high-purine foods to be wary of:

  • Anchovies, Asparagus, Beef kidneys.
  • Brains, Dried beans and peas.
  • Game meats, Gravy, Herring.
  • Liver, Mackerel, Mushrooms.
  • Sardines, Scallops, Sweetbreads.

Asparagus, beans, some other plant-based foods and mushrooms are likewise sources of purines, however research recommends that these do not set off gout attacks and do not impact uric acid levels.

Numerous epidemiological studies have revealed that purine-rich vegetables, whole grains, nuts and vegetables, and less sweet fruits, coffee and vitamin C supplements decrease the risk of gout, whereas red meat, fructose-containing beverages and alcohol enhance the risk.

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