Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ways To Combat Gout

Gout is a painful inflammatory condition that affects millions of people worldwide. A form of arthritis, gout is characterized by sudden flares of joint pain and tenderness. There are treatments that can reduce the severity of gout and reduce painful flares.
The build-up of urate crystals inside a certain joint of the body causes gout to occur. These crystals form when levels of uric acid are high inside the body. Uric acid is broken down in the blood and excreted in the form of urine in the kidneys. Those who produce excessive amounts of uric acid or who fail to excrete adequate amounts of uric acid, may develop the formation of painful urate crystals inside certain joints of the body.
The primary symptoms of gout are joint pain, often in the big toe. Gout can also cause pain in other joints such as knees, ankles, wrists and hands. Most bouts of gout are characterized by sudden, intense attacks that occur with no prior warning. Once the acute phase of gout is over, there may continue to be joint pain that lasts up to several weeks after the original attack. Those who have gout may also experience increased redness and swelling in the affected joint.
The newest treatments for gout include corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone. These medications help control inflammation in the joints which can reduce pain. Corticosteroids are taken by mouth or they can be injected into the body. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAID's are also commonly used to treat gout. These medications come in over-the-counter variations such as ibuprofen or naproxen. NSAID's are also available in prescription strength to treat severe pain. Those who have many gout flares, may require medication to prevent painful attacks. These medicines work by blocking uric acid production in the body, preventing painful attacks from occurring or reducing their frequency. All medications have side effects that can cause adverse health effects. Corticosteroids can cause patients to be more susceptible to illness and develop thinning bones. NSAID's often cause stomach pain and can increase the risk of developing stomach ulcers. Drugs that block uric acid can cause low blood counts, rash and impaired liver function.
Certain factors contribute to the development of gout. People who consume excessive amounts of alcohol, often develop gout. Some diseases can also increase the risk of gout, including diabetes, hypertension and narrowing of the arteries. Taking diuretics daily also increase gout flares, as well as daily aspirin use. Gout occurs most often in men who have a family history of gout attacks. Most men develop symptoms of this condition between 40 and 50 years of age. Women can also suffer from gout, but the condition typically occurs after menopause.

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