Gout Revisited

July 06, 2008

Health is truly treasured and the importance of good health is truly valued by people who have experienced illnesses or diseases in their family. There is more to it. Illnesses and sickness are still accepted and taken care of as human body is known to be a bio machine and there are times when the machine can’t function normally and needs care and recuperation. However there are certain sicknesses which are still dreaded of. Chronic illnesses generally fall in this category. The worse part of these diseases is that they continue fellowship with the patient almost for the rest of his/her life. Even though medications and care are a regular part of the routine life, complete recuperation is difficult if not impossible.

The darkest cloud has a silver lining too. This is another eternal fact in life. Hence whatever the difficulties may be, there is always a ray of hope. Hence there are good medical management programs which manage chronic diseases if not cure them. One such painful condition which would be discussed is gout.

Gout is another metabolic disorder like diabetes mellitus. This caused by an increase in the blood levels of uric acid.

What is uric acid?

Uric cid is a product of the break down of proteins which are eaten in the form of fish, pulses, sprouts and even milk products. These edible items contain biochemical substances called purines which are nitrogenous carbon containing compounds. By the action of digestive enzymes and metabolizing enzymes, these purines are converted to uric acid.

What happens in gout?

The uric acid formed in the body is normally excreted from the kidneys in form of urine. The kidneys function as a filter which separates the excess water and uric acid crystals along with other unwanted solutes from the requisite ions in the blood. This process is disrupted in gout when the concentration of uric acid crystals goes above the normal levels or if the capacity of the kidney to remove the crystals deteriorates.

These uric acid crystals instead of being excreted in urine get concentrated in different areas and cavities of the body. The normal tendency of these crystals is to be deposited around the joints of the body in fluid filled sacs called sinovial sacs. These sacs help in maintaining the flexibility and mobility of the joints by providing good lubrication. However when uric acid crystals settle in these sacs, there is an inflammatory response by the body. This gives rise to swelling and pain of gout. Initially the patient experiences gouty attacks occasionally but the condition may soon be converted to a persistent pain similar to that in rheumatoid arthritis. This condition is then termed as gouty arthritis.

Risk factors of gout

Heredity is an important factor which determines the tendency of a person to suffer from gout. Some other risk factors are:

  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Alcoholism
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Abnormal kidney function

This condition develops after the age of 75 in men. Women are less likely to experience the disease than men. However some women do experience the disease after menopause when the activity of estrogen reduces.

Diet influences gout

Poor exercise and higher intake of proteins and purines would call for higher risk of contracting the disease. Hence heavy meals, sedentary life styles and poor water intake all increase the risks of contracting gout.

Management of gout

Gout is a painful condition and this is greatly reduced when the joints are raised to a higher level. Acupressure and acupuncture also help in relieving pain. Medications like pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed which help relieve the symptoms slowly but steadily. Turmeric, Ginger and other anti-inflammatory natural medications are of prime concern in this condition.

A support given to the painful joint to relieve the joint from body weight is a good idea to put off the pain the discomfort.

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