Living with Gout

Living with Gout

Gout and a Healthy You

Gout is probably more famous for the people who had this disease than for the pain it causes. Gout sufferers through the years include the much publicized misery of England’s Henry VIII and the less discussed woes of painter Leonardo Da Vinci and Vice President Dick Cheney. However, anyone with gout – famous or not – shares this knowledge: It hurts … a lot.

About 8 million Americans, mostly men, suffer from this disease, which is a form of arthritis. It occurs from too much uric acid in the body, which causes redness, swelling, and stabbing pain in the joints, often starting in the big toe. The first attack may occur suddenly. You might wake up in the night with the sensation that your toe is swollen, red, and on fire. besides the favored big toe, gout attacks:

  • ankles and heels
  • wrists and fingers
  • knees and elbows

What causes uric acid to build in the body? The normal path for uric acid is to dissolve in the blood, travel through the kidneys, and flow out in urine. Sometimes, however, the body makes too much uric acid or doesn’t dissolve enough of it. Gout can also result from a lifestyle that includes too much purine in the diet. eaten in high protein foods such as sardines or herring. Gout can also result from being overweight. Changes in the diet can sometimes bring pain relief from gout. Other gout complications can come from drinking too much alcohol and sometimes medicines such as aspirin or diuretics.

If you seek treatment for symptoms of gout, the doctor will generally draw a fluid sample from the swollen area to confirm the existence of the disease. You may be given anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids such as prednisone, or colchicine to relieve the pain and swelling.

Henry VIII, Leonardo, and Dick Cheney weren’t kidding when they complained about the pain of gout. However, if you have th3e disease, here are some ways that might ease the pain and discomfort:

  • Take your prescribed medicines as directed.
  • Drink lots of water and don’t overdo on alcohol intake.
  • Watch your weight and keep a healthy diet.

A gout attack may last from a few hours to a few days. even when the pain is gone, some discomfort in the joints may be felt. Don’t leave gout untreated. With each attack, the pain may increase and more joints may be affected.


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