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Is There a Gout Cure? Treatments to Consider and Use

Aug 17, 2007
Gout is one of those conditions that have been around for so long that it's nearly impossible not to have a cure by now. Unfortunately, that is exactly the case. Modern science has not come up with an exact cure and millions of people still suffer from its symptoms and complications.

However, like most conditions with no cure, gout can be treated. There are various drugs and therapies that can be utilized to alleviate its symptoms and provide the patient a quality of life that will allow him to live comfortably in spite of his condition. First, gout must be understood first and various treatments discussed.

The cause of gout
Uric acid is considered the main culprit in gout cases. In healthy individuals, it is normally dissolved in the blood. However, if its level increases, it can cause an abnormality in the chemical functions of the body. Uric acid can form urate crystals and can cause painful inflammation if they accumulate in the joints.

A high level of uric acid in the blood is a condition referred to as hyperuricaemia. Sharp, needle-like uric acid crystals become deposited in joint spaces and/or connective tissues, causing swelling, pain, redness and stiffness. These uric acid deposits are called tophi.

Are you candidate for gout?
Almost 20% of people suffering from gout have family members who have this disease. It is also more common in adults and men. While weight is not a direct cause of gout, it can also contribute to an increase in risk. Another factor that can increase the risk of gout is excessive alcohol intake.

Treating Gout
Currently, there is no known single cure for gout which can totally eradicate the condition once and for all. However, it can be treated with success and many patients with gout are living pain-free lives. The key is treating it in its early stages, so that unnecessary pain may be avoided in the long term. Immediate action can also relieve symptoms within a day of the attack.

Medications
To combat pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs might be prescribed. NSAIDs help reduce the swelling and block a chemical called prostaglandin, which is responsible for causing pain and inflammation. Other drugs that may be prescribed to block pain and bring down swelling are colchicines and adrenocorticotropic hormones (ACTH).

If a patient shows intolerance for NSAIDs, corticosteroids may be prescribed instead. These also help ease joint inflammation. Drugs like allopurinol that lower or prevent the production of uric acid may also be used for long term treatments and are usually prescribed to older patients.

Fluid intake
On top of the 8 glasses of water intake a day, it is recommended that gout patients add at least 4 more glasses to help the body excrete toxins. Water helps the kidneys eliminate uric acid through urine.

Obesity
Pain caused by gout can be alleviated by regulating weight. Excessive weight means that there are more tissues susceptible to breakdown and that the body will produce more uric acid. A lighter body will also be easier on the joints, specifically on the knees and ankles.

Diet
Some foods, while healthy, can aggravate the symptoms of gout. These foods include excessive intake of red meats and organ meats like tongue, tripe, livers and kidneys. Other foods that can worsen gout symptoms are shellfish, mussels, oysters, scallops and fish roe.

Some vegetables have also been implicated in gout attacks, like dried beans, peas and mushrooms. A low-fat diet can also be helpful, since some studies show that the foods linked to problems with cardiovascular functions are the same foods responsible for gout.

If you are susceptible to gout or are already suffering from it, it's best to stay away from crash diets. While they may help you lose weight in a short period of time, they can also induce the production of too much uric acid, which won't help your condition.

Medications for hypertension
Drugs used to treat high blood pressure may also contribute to the intensity of symptoms. If you are a patient suffering from both gout and hypertension, you will need to change your diet and check with your doctor about possible drug alternatives.

Beware of quick and miraculous cures
You've probably seen the ads for these drugs, supplements and devices, promising immediate relief and total cures. Most of them may not be harmful but may not effect any relief at all and be a complete waste of money. If there is something that interests you, better seek the advice of your doctor before considering other forms of treatment.

What's being done
Just because a cure has not been discovered yet doesn't mean that scientists and doctors have stopped trying. More research is being done to find better medicines and further clinical studies are being conducted. The purpose of course is to learn our more about gout and ultimately find the cure.
About the Author
Lee Dobbins writes for http://gout.topicgiant.com where you can learn more about gout and explore different gout remedies.
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