Gout and arthritis are very much related. In fact, gout is a type of arthritis that appears in the form of a sudden attack accompanied by pain, redness, warmth and swelling in the affected joints.
Generally, gouty arthritis affects one joint at a time although it may affect several joints at the same time too.
The most commonly affected areas are the large toe and the base of the foot. However, gout may also affect other joints like the ankle and knee. Although rare, attacks of gout may also be seen in the joints of the hand, wrists, fingers and even the elbow.
Some joints like the spine are never affected by gout.
Symptoms of gouty arthritis surface when the levels of uric acid in the blood are high enough cause crystal formation in the blood.
Certain factors make patients more vulnerable to the attack of gout, including heredity, diet, lifestyle factors, previous injury and the use of certain medication. Although the exact causes are not known, the above factors do play a vital role in developing gout. Acute gouty arthritis is almost always the direct result of certain lifestyle factors.
Men between the age of 40 and 50 are most likely to get it. In women, gout may be seen after menopause and could be related to the intake of certain medicines.
Although rare, attacks of gout may also be seen in younger folks.
Attacks are quite painful and characterized by pain, swelling, redness, warmth and tenderness in the affected area. Once the attacks starts, treatment aims at bringing down inflammation and reducing pain through the intake of painkillers.
Attacks may be as frequent as once or twice a month or once a year. Initially, attacks may last several days to a number of weeks.
As attacks become more frequent and the condition becomes worse, patients might find that gout is attacking more joints and that symptoms last for longer periods of time. That is why it is important to start gouty arthritis treatment as soon as possible.
To a large extent, yes. The first step is to switch over to an arthritis gout diet since gout is the direct result of the formation of excess uric acid in the blood.
In fact, attacks of acute gouty arthritis may be prevented by taking in the right kinds of food and avoiding substances like red meat, alcohol, yeast and oily fish.
Secondly, if you are at risk, it is important to lose excess body weight and start building the strength of your bones and joints.