What causes acute gouty arthritis?

Acute gouty arthritis is one of the oldest forms of arthritis ever identified. This condition was seen as early as the fifth century BC and was described by Hippocrates as ‘the unwalkable disease’.

Basically, this type of arthritis is the result of frequent gout attacks, which in turn is caused by the build up of uric acid in the bloodstream.

Acute gouty arthritis and food:

Surveys show that 840 people in every 100,000 develop the disease. What causes gout is not clear but the numbers show that this disease is not rare.

From the very beginning though, there has been a close connection between gout and rich foods and alcohol. In fact, acute gouty arthritis has been known as the ‘disease of the kings’ because it is seen mainly in the affluent.

Even Benjamin Franklin had it!

The foot, toe, ankles and knees are most vulnerable to gout.

Risk factors

Men in the age group of 40-50 are most likely to develop acute gouty arthritis. Children and young adults rarely suffer from it.

Certain factors increase the risk of developing this condition.

  • Research shows that more than 18% of patients have a family history of gout
  • Gender has a vital role to play because gout is seen more in men than in women
  • Risk increases with age
  • Overweight people are more at risk
  • Alcohol consumption (particularly beer) interferes with the elimination of uric acids from the body, leading to gout
  • Foods containing purines can worsen symptoms
  • Certain kinds of medication can increase the risk of developing gout. These include diuretics, anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppresants etc.
  • Certain medical conditions like Leukemia, Psoriasis and Lymphoma may contribute to gout
  • Stressful events could also trigger an attack

Acute gouty arthritis: signs and symptoms

Generally, patients realize that they are suffering from the disease when they experience their first episode of acute pain in the foot or toe. This leads to blood tests that will help detect high levels of uric acid in the blood.

Nighttime swelling, tenderness, warmth and sharp pain in the big toe are the most common sign of gout. Symptoms may go away immediately or may last for a few days. Attacks may occur intermittently or may not appear for months or years together.

Can gouty arthritis attacks be prevented?

Studies show that patients can take several measures to prevent an attack of gout. Besides taking prescription medicines, certain lifestyle factors also help control the frequency of attacks.

  • Taking in plenty of water reduces the level of uric acid in the blood.
  • Losing excess weight is another good idea.
  • Limiting the intake of foods rich in purines and avoiding alcohol also helps.

Foods rich in purines:

Meat, liver, kidneys, bacon, beef, pork, sardines, scallops, mackerel and beer.

However, studies show that purines in vegetables are generally safe. Therefore, green leafy vegetables and tomatoes are safe when taken in small quantities. A proper arthritis gout diet is advised too.

Gouty arthritis is a painful condition. An attack can leave patients incapacitated for the entire term because pain makes it almost impossible to place pressure on the affected area.

That is why it is better to take measures to prevent the occurrence of the attack through proper preventative measures. If the acute gouty arthritis attack occurs, the arthritis gouty treatment is a must.

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