Gout is a relatively common hereditary metabolic disorder when a person’s body cannot break down or eliminate uric acid. The uric acid crystallizes in the joints and provokes the body’s immune system to go into attack mode. This causes the area to become red, inflamed, painful and extremely sensitive to the touch, where even the weight of a bedsheet may be too much to bear.
What is the difference between gout and arthritis?
Arthritis covers a broad scope of problems that all have to do with the inflammation of the joints. Gout is actually considered a form of arthritis, but differs from osteoarthritis (caused by excessive joint wear) and rheumatoid arthritis (an auto-immune disease) because it is caused by these deposits of uric acid crystals.
Gout or arthritis? How to tell.
- Gout usually starts in one area, typically the big toe. It will flare up once in awhile for no apparent reason, as if an imaginary hammer has smashed your foot. Within a few days it will disappear just as suddenly. You may forget that it ever happened and feel that the affected joint is completely fine, but eventually, the pain strikes again and you are crippled by the throbbing pain.
- Gout can also appear in the knee, the elbow, even on the ear. A condition called tophaceous gout is where accumulations of uric acid crystals form large lumps that are visible just underneath the skin. If not treated, the deposits can lead to bone damage and disfiguration.
- Gout differs from other forms of arthritis in several ways. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are not so acute and sufferers experience less pain and stiffness, only on a more regular basis. If you have a sudden onset of intense joint pain and swelling, especially in the big toe, you may want to see a doctor to find out if you have gout.
How does somebody get gout?
Gout is believed to be inherited. If your father or mother suffered from it, then there’s a good chance you may eventually experience a gout attack.
Other factors include diets high in meat, excessive alcohol consumption, previous injury and being overweight.
How to treat gout.
At the onset of an acute attack there is not much one can do except let it run its course. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen can help reduce swelling and take the edge off the pain. The best way to ease the pain of gout is to prevent the attack from happening in the first place.
How to prevent gout attacks.
• If you’re overweight, lose weight. Five or ten pounds can make a huge difference.
• Eat a healthy diet full of fiber and neutralize the uric acid with alkaline fruits and vegetables. Limit the red meat and eliminate processed meats like cold cuts that are extremely acid forming.
• Exercise daily. The better your circulation and cardiovascular fitness, the easier for your body to clean out the crystals.
• Massage therapy, though not recommended during an acute attack, is also a good preventative strategy to increase blood flow to the area and help dissolve those nasty uric acid deposits.
• Drink plenty of alkaline water to flush out the acid from the body.
Your doctor may talk to you about some medications like allopurinol to prevent gout from forming, but if you don’t want to risk the side effects, here are a few natural remedies you can try at home.
Gout Home Cures
• Cherry juice-Many suffers swear by drinking real cherry juice or eating cherries daily.
• Baking soda-Dissolve 1/4-1/2 of teaspoon in a full glass of water and drink several times a day. Baking soda is an alkalizing agent, but take care if you eat a lot of salt or have high blood pressure because of the extremely high sodium content. Click here for more ways to make alkaline water at home.
• Celery-Eat a lot of celery. It is believed to be a diuretic which helps cleanse the kidneys and remove uric acid from the body.
• Cola de Caballo (horsetail)-Usually prepared as a tea and is also a diuretic. Smokers beware though, it may increase the effects of nicotine.
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The information in the Basic Life Blog is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your doctor.