Gout is a disease in which there is a build-up of uric acid in the body.
- Uric Acid is a waste product formed from the breakdown of certain proteins (called Purines).
- It is normally removed from the body by the kidneys.
- In gout, uric acid builds up and forms crystals which are deposited inside the joints.
- It is one of the oldest diseases known to mankind.
- Although it was formerly a leading cause of painful and disabling chronic arthritis, due to advances in medical research, gout can now be well-controlled.
- It commonly affects middle-aged men , especially between the ages of 30 and 60.
- It rarely affects women before menopause.
Signs and symptoms
- The base of the big toe is usually affected.
- The big toe becomes red, hot, swollen and very painful.
- Attacks usually occur very quickly, often overnight.
- Affected joint becomes very painful , often to the point that even the weight of a bedsheet becomes unbearable.
- Pain may last for days to weeks if not treated.
- May recur at intervals of weeks or months.
- Gout can also affect other joints like the ankle, knee, wrist and fingers.
- Uric acid may collect under the skin as tophi
- In the urinary tract, it may collect as kidney stones.
- People with gout usually have other diseases like
Gout is a curable disease but you must take steps to overcome the disease.
- Rest the joint during an attack of gout.
- Anti-inflammatory medicine is used to reduce pain and inflammation. It may have side-effects like pain in the abdomen but if used for short-term, it is generally well tolerated.
- Other drugs like colchicine can also be given. Although colchicine is very effective, it often causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. (Can be prescribed only by doctors)
- Usually injected directly into the inflamed joint
- May be given as a short course of tablets if the patient is unable to take other medications. However, this is not to be taken long-term.
- Always be on the lookout for early signs of attacks . The earlier you start the treatment the better the outcome.
Since gout is caused by an excess of uric acid in the body, you have to remove factors that may raise uric acid level.
- Control your weight – Being overweight interferes with the body’s ability to remove excess uric acid (Click here to read more..)
- Avoid alcohol
- Diet – Avoid increased intake of purine-containing foods
- Certain meats, seafood, dried peas and beans are particularly high in purines.
Below is a list of food high in purines, especially organ meats.
|AVOID EATING||EAT LESS|
Meat extracts, yeast extracts (like Marmite) and stock cubes
- Modify your lifestyle to maintain a normal uric acid level
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent the associated medical conditions
- Allopurinol once prescribed is regular life-long treatment
- Do not stop or change the dose of allopurinol when you have an attack
- Drink plenty of water
Is gout a disease of the wealthy?
No, gout can affect people from all walks of life although too much alcohol and overeating can be associated with its development.
Can gout be inherited?
- Gout can be inherited but environmental factors also play a part
- Gout is a treatable disease. Historically, gout has been a major cause of destructive and disabling arthritis but today with proper management it can be totally controlled.
- The main thing is to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
If you want more information on gout, visit the Arthritis Foundation Malaysia web site at www.afm.org.my
|Last reviewed||:||01 May 2012|
|Writer||:||Dr. Heselynn Hussein|
|Reviewer||:||Dr. Heselynn Hussein|