Gout is a type of arthritis that is caused by a chemical in the blood called urate or uric acid. This acid is harmless and is usually made in the body. Most of the acid is passed out with the urine and some with the stools. But in people suffering from gout, the uric acid in the blood builds up and sometimes that level becomes too high and leads to the formation of tiny grit-like crystals of uric acid. The crystals usually collect in a joint and irritate the joint tissues and cause inflammation, swelling and pain. However, the higher the level of uric acid, the greater is the chance of developing gout.
Causes behind Uric Acid Build-up
Generally there is a perfect balance between the uric acid made by the body and the amount of acid excreted by the body. However, in gout patients their kidneys do not release enough uric acid and hence their level in the blood may rise. This leads to the build-up of uric acid and thus increases the chance of developing gout. Some of the other factors that contribute in the build-up of uric acid include:
- Lack of vitamin-C in the diet
- Excessive intake of alcohol
- Too-much intake of sugar-sweetened soft drinks
- Eating too much of sardines, yeast extracts or mussels increase the level of uric acid.
- Intake of certain medications such as diuretics, aspirin or some chemotherapy medicines
- People suffering from health conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, kidney damage, lipid disorder or vascular disease.
Symptoms of Gout:
The symptoms of the condition start when urate crystals begin depositing in the tissues of the body. Deposits appear under the skin, in the joints, and in the kidneys. The following are some major symptoms of gout that patients experience from time to time.
- Tenderness in the big toe
Diagnosis and Treatment:
To diagnose gout, doctors take a detailed history of the disease and conduct a thorough physical examination. Doctors collect your blood sample to check the level of uric acid in your blood. The sample is then examined under a microscope. X-rays are also done to find deposits of uric acid crystals and any bone damage due to excessive inflammation. Once diagnosis is done, doctors recommend effective medication to treat the disease. The medication includes Colchicine, Uloric and Zyloprim. Consult your doctor before starting any of the medication.