Signs and Symptoms of Gout
Gout is one of the most painful forms of arthritis, and it is one of the most frequently recorded medical illnesses throughout history. It occurs when there is too much uric acid in the body, which leads to the formation of small urate crystals that then develop inside the tissues of the body, especially at the joints. When these crystals form in the joints, they cause chronic pain from joint inflammation. Chronic gout can also lead to deposits of uric acid in hard lumps around the joints, which usually leads to joint destruction, decreased kidney function, and kidney stones.
Gout is frequently associated with an inherited abnormality in the body's ability to process uric acid, which is a product of purines that are all part of the food we eat. Tophi, the deposits of uric acid that look like lumps under the skin, are one of the most discernible signs of gout. Usually, the first attack of gout happens in the big toe, which becomes sore, red, warm, and swollen.
Other common symptoms of gout are pain, swelling, redness, heat, and stiffness in the joints. Apart from the big toe, it can also affect the insteps, heels, ankles, wrists, fingers, elbows, and knees.
Causes of Gout
Genetics, gender, weight, and lifestyle can all affect one's chances of having gout. But the leading cause of gout is purine, the break down of substances that have uric acid. These purines are in many of the foods we eat, such as liver, dried beans and peas, and anchovies.
As mentioned, gout occurs when there is a deposition of uric acid in the joints. Normally, uric acid dissolves in the blood, which passes through the kidneys and out of the body in the form of urine. However, uric acid actually builds up in the blood when the body increases the amount of uric acid it makes, when the kidney doesn't get rid of enough uric acid, and when a person eats too many foods high in purines. When the uric acid levels in the blood are too high, they cause a condition called hyperuricemia. Most people who have this do not actually develop gout, however, if those uric acid crystals that also develop in hyperuricemia form in the body, gout can develop.
Individuals that are overweight, alcoholic, or who eat large amounts of foods rich in purines are at a higher risk of developing gout. The gout risk is also higher if there are family members with the same disease, and men generally are at a higher risk than women. There have been studies that show regular consumption of certain medications such as aspirin, cycloscopine, or ledvodopa, as well as the vitamin Niacin, can also increase your chances of developing this condition. Other groups that are susceptible to developing gout are those that have had an organ transplant, and individuals who have been exposed to high amounts of lead in the environment.
Home Remedies and Natural Treatments for Gout
The best thing that you can do to prevent gout from happening in the first place is to watch your diet and stay away from foods that contain high amounts of purines.
Stay away from fried foods and from those that contain large amounts sugar.
Limit your consumption of beans, poultry, yeast products, fish, peanuts and meat.
Instead, stick to vegetables, especially starchy and green vegetables. Corn, fruit, rice, eggs, milk, and cheese are also good additions to your diet. Do not drink alcohol, and instead, drink lots of purified water because it helps get of uric acid.
Alfalfa can help reduce uric acid levels in the body. Therefore, taking 3000 milligrams of alfalfa capsules or tablets every day is an effective way to treat gout. Other herbs such as devil's claw, bilberry, yarrow, yucca, juniper, skull cap, hyssop, turmeric, burdock, and boswellia can also be helpful alternatives to reduce your chances of getting gout.
Honey and Apple Cider Vinegar
A mixture of honey and apple cider vinegar has been found to be effective at treating gout. Two spoonfuls each, one in the morning and once before going to bed, can help alleviate some of the discomfort and pain. Use the organic kind of apple cider vinegar from health food stores, however, instead of the kind you find at grocery stores, as it is more purified and works more effectively.
Wintergreen Oil and Cayenne Powder
A paste mixture made of wintergreen oil and cayenne powder can help reduce gout inflammation. Start with one tablespoon of the oil in a small bowl, and then slowly mix small amounts of cayenne powder into the oil until you get the consistency of a paste. You can then rub this mixture onto the affected areas that are causing pain. Try to leave the paste on the skin for at least 30 minutes unless you feel discomfort. This mixture can cause eye irritation, so be sure to avoid contact with the eyes.