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Gout Facts That Counter Myths

Jan 16, 2008
Gout is one of those medical ailments shrouded in mystery and plagued by misconception. You may think that it's a disease brought about by over eating and excessive drinking. Gout has carried this stigma for many years, and those who suffer with it often feel too embarrassed to seek proper treatment.

Gout is a medical condition that is quite prevalent in modern day society; however, few realize that it is actually a form of arthritis. Gout is a disease that is trademarked by a high degree of pain that is centralized on one particular joint. More often than not, in about seventy-five percent of all cases, gout is present in the big toe. The condition causes intense pain, swelling, stiffness, and a warm feeling in the affected area.

Causes and Contributors

There is uncertainty as to the exact cause of gout, but scientists agree that the root of the problem may lie in the body's inability to metabolize a naturally occurring substance called purine. The human body naturally metabolizes purine into uric acid, but people with gout tend to have increased levels of uric acid production in their systems.

The inability to properly excrete the uric acid from the body is another factor that may contribute to the development of gout. The actual problems caused by the gout condition are directly linked to the crystallization of uric acid within the body. This accounts for the swelling and intense pain experienced by those suffering with the disease.

The development of gout remains at the center of much controversy. Many believe that gout is caused by excessive or ongoing alcohol consumption, coupled with improper diet and inactivity. Those with a diet low in purine-neutralizing substances such as cherries, strawberries and celery may be at a higher risk of gout development.

People at risk of developing gout should avoid foods that are high in purine such as alcohol, sardines, anchovies, scallops and diet soda. Each of these foods possesses high levels of purine and should be avoided when decreasing the risk of developing gout.

Treating Gout

When the agonizing pain of gout strikes, there are only a few options available. The pain can be so intense that even a light blanket draped over the feet brings about terrible suffering. Soaking in a warm bath can help to increase blood circulation in the affected area and help to reduce the swelling. This can also lead to a decreased amount of crystallization of the uric acids that cause the disease.

One common misconception that should be avoided is applying an ice pack to the area. While some people believe that this can decrease the pain and swelling of gout, it actually aggravates the problem, as lower temperatures aid in the crystallization of uric acids in the body.

When discussing the problem with gout with your doctor, there are a number of solutions that he or she may suggest to aid your suffering. Some common recommendations include a drug named indomethacin. Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also be prescribed. NSAIDs are used to decrease the inflammation of the affected area, and they provide some degree of pain relief.

Gout attacks will come and go, often flaring up without warning. Many doctors prescribe allopurinol, a drug that can help to reduce the body's production of uric acid and limit the amount of crystallization that may occur.

Don't be embarrassed if gout strikes you. See your doctor right away, and get the relief that you need. Find out more about the treatment methods that can help you enjoy a pain-free lifestyle.
About the Author
Ambrose Hutson is an author for numerous popular Internet sites, on fitness training and healthy living tips topics.
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