Gout is a common and complex form of arthritis that can affect anyone. It's characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in one or more joints, and often at night. The affected joint is hot, swollen and so tender that even the weight of the bedsheet on it may seem intolerable.
There is no cure for gout, but you can effectively treat and manage the condition with medication and self-management strategies.
The signs and symptoms of gout include:
Intense joint pain. Gout usually affects the big toe, but it can occur in any joint. Other commonly affected joints include the ankles, knees, elbows, wrists and fingers. The pain is likely to be most severe within the first four to 12 hours after it begins.
Lingering discomfort. After the most severe pain subsides, some joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks. Later attacks are likely to last longer and affect more joints.
Inflammation and redness. The affected joint or joints become swollen, tender, warm and red.
Limited range of motion. As gout progresses, you may not be able to move your joints normally.
When to see a doctor
If you experience sudden, intense pain in a joint, call your doctor. Gout that goes untreated can lead to worsening pain and joint damage. Seek medical care immediately if you have a fever and a joint is hot and inflamed, which can be a sign of infection.
Gout occurs when urate crystals accumulate in your joint, causing the inflammation and intense pain of a gout attack. Urate crystals can form when you have high levels of uric acid in your blood. Your body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines — substances that are found naturally in your body.
Purines are also found in certain foods, including red meat and organ meats, such as liver. Purine-rich seafood includes anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout and tuna. Alcoholic beverages, especially beer, and drinks sweetened with fruit sugar promote higher levels of uric acid.
Normally, uric acid dissolves in your blood and passes through your kidneys into your urine. But sometimes either your body produces too much uric acid or your kidneys excrete too little uric acid. When this happens, uric acid can build up, forming sharp, needlelike urate crystals in a joint or surrounding tissue that cause pain, inflammation and swelling.
You're more likely to develop gout if you have high levels of uric acid in your body. Factors that increase the uric acid level in your body include:
Diet. Eating a diet rich in red meat and shellfish and drinking beverages sweetened with fruit sugar increase levels of uric acid, which increase your risk of gout. Alcohol consumption also increases the risk of gout.
Weight. If you're overweight, your body produces more uric acid and your kidneys have a more difficult time eliminating uric acid.
Medical conditions. Certain diseases and conditions increase your risk of gout. These include untreated high blood pressure and chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and heart and kidney diseases.
Certain medications. Low-dose aspirin and some medications used to control hypertension also can increase uric acid levels. So can the use of anti-rejection drugs prescribed for people who have undergone an organ transplant.
Family history of gout. If other members of your family have had gout, you're more likely to develop the disease.
Age and gender. Gout occurs more often in men, primarily because women tend to have lower uric acid levels. After menopause, however, women's uric acid levels approach those of men. Men are also more likely to develop gout earlier — usually between the ages of 30 and 50 — whereas women generally develop signs and symptoms after menopause.
Recent surgery or trauma. Experiencing recent surgery or trauma can sometimes trigger a gout attack. In some people, receiving a vaccination can trigger a gout flare.
People with gout can develop more-severe conditions, such as:
Recurrent gout. Some people may never experience gout signs and symptoms again. Others may experience gout several times each year. Medications may help prevent gout attacks in people with recurrent gout. If left untreated, gout can cause erosion and destruction of a joint.
Advanced gout. Untreated gout may cause deposits of urate crystals to form under the skin in nodules called tophi, which can develop in several areas, such as your fingers, hands, feet, elbows or Achilles tendons along the backs of your ankles. Tophi usually aren't painful, but they can become swollen and tender during gout attacks.
Kidney stones. Urate crystals may collect in the urinary tracts of people with gout, causing kidney stones. Medications can help reduce the risk of kidney stones.
Gout symptoms may come and go, but there are ways to manage symptoms and prevent flares.
Gout medications are available in two types and focus on two different problems. The first type helps reduce the inflammation and pain associated with gout attacks. The second type works to prevent gout complications by lowering the amount of uric acid in your blood.
Which type of medication is right for you depends on the frequency and severity of your symptoms, along with any other health problems you may have.
Medications to treat gout flares and prevent future attacks include Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDs. This includes over-the-counter options, Advil, Motrin IB, Aleve, as well as more-powerful prescription NSAIDs Indocin, Tivorbex, Celebrex. However, NSAIDs carry risks of stomach pain, bleeding and ulcers.
To reduces gout pain, your doctor may recommend colchicine, such as Colcrys, Gloperba, Mitigare. However, it carries side effects such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
To control gout inflammation and pain, your doctor may recommend corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone. However, it carries side effects of mood changes, increased blood sugar levels and elevated blood pressure.
Medications to prevent gout complications
If your gout attacks are less frequent but particularly painful, your doctor may recommend medication to reduce your risk of gout-related complications.
Medications that block uric acid production. Drugs such as allopurinol (Aloprim, Lopurin, Zyloprim) and febuxostat (Uloric) help limit the amount of uric acid your body makes. Side effects of allopurinol include fever, rash, hepatitis and kidney problems. Febuxostat side effects include rash, nausea and reduced liver function. Febuxostat also may increase the risk of heart-related death.
Medications that improve uric acid removal. Drugs such as probenecid (Probalan) help improve your kidneys' ability to remove uric acid from your body. Side effects include a rash, stomach pain and kidney stones.
LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES
Medications are often the most effective way to treat gout attacks and prevent recurrent symptom flares. However, lifestyle choices also are important, and you may want to:
Choose healthier beverages. Limit alcoholic beverages and drinks sweetened with fruit sugar. Instead, drink plenty of nonalcoholic beverages, especially water.
Avoid foods high in purines. Red meat and organ meats, such as liver, are especially high in purines. Purine-rich seafood includes anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout and tuna. Low-fat dairy products may be a better source of protein for people prone to gout.
Exercise regularly and lose weight. Keeping your body at a healthy weight reduces your risk of gout. Choose low-impact activities such as walking, bicycling and swimming — which are easier on your joints.
WHAT ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS ARE THERE?
American Herbal Laboratories has successfully developed Meridian Energy Analysis Systems. It’s a valuable tool to assess your organ energy functions while you are managing gout’s symptoms preventing flares.
Dr. Luke also highly recommends these protocols with the use of new vita’s Nano Herbs Lights. It allows patients to achieve the results of acupuncture without the use of needles.
It enhances cell growth and rebalances the cell's DNA structure. Nano Herbs Lights support and promote optimal health for 700 conditions, such as managing gout’s symptoms and preventing flares, slowing down the aging process, cosmetic improvement, scalp enhancement, pain management, meridian organ rebalance, immune system rebalance, and energy support for cancer patients.
For managing gout’s symptoms and preventing flares, Dr. Luke recommends the following acupuncture points Aorta, Navel and affected areas & tender points chosen by you
Dr. Luke also highly recommends the following herbal supplements, successfully developed by American Herbal Laboratories: De Gout, Tub Kidney Ease, 4 Pain Cream.
These 100% premium natural herbal supplements, herbal bath, and herbal cream support and promote optimal health when managing gout’s symptoms and preventing flares.
new vita herbal supplements are made from 100% premium natural herbs harvested in America and Asia. They are manufactured in our US FDA registered facility in Los Angeles, California since 1994. They are prepared according to Dr. Luke Cua's proprietary methods that have been developed over forty years of clinical research using both traditional Chinese medicine and Nano technology.
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Disclaimer: This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please follow CDC prevention guidelines and recommendations.