Understanding Gout

Gout is a disease characterized by the inflammation of tissues, cartilage and tendons found surrounding the joints. Gout, also known as metabolic arthritis, is actually a type of arthritis since it is characterized by joint inflammation. The disease usually develops when there is an extensive build up of uric acid in the joints.

What causes gout?

Gout develops when uric acid builds up substantially over the joints. The buildup allows the formation of urate crystals around the affected joint which then can cause inflammation and severe pain characteristic of a gout attack. The urate crystals from when there is too much uric acid found in the blood stream.

Uric acid is produced by the body in order to break down certain substances such as organ meats, asparagus, mushrooms and anchovies. Under normal conditions, uric acid usually dissolves in the blood or passes through the kidney and excreted along with urine.

But there are cases where the body seems to produce to much uric acid than it needs or the kidney excrete to little of it. This causes too much uric acid to build up in the blood stream which then finds their way into the joints and form urate crystals.

Symptoms associated with gout

The symptoms associated with gout occur suddenly. It is characterized by excruciating pain along with swelling and stiffness around the affected joint. The pain can be brought about by the sharp urate crystals causing friction with the surrounding tissues it touches that results in very intense pain.

The pain associated with a gout attack can also be caused by the swelling and soreness of the inflamed joint making the surrounding area very sensitive to touch. That is why people sometimes react with extreme pain whenever a blanket is draped over the joint affected by gout. Low fever may sometimes be experienced following a gout attack.

How to treat gout?

Gout is usually primarily treated using pain killing drugs. Some of the drugs usually used include Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAID’s such as over the counter drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen as well as other prescription NSAID’s.

Steroid medications may also be prescribed to ease the pain and swelling caused by a gout attack. Another effective drug for gout is colchicine which helps prevent inflammation due to gout but must be taken within the first 12 hours of the attack in order to be effective.