Gout is a form of arthritis that affects the joints, most commonly in the feet. Gout typically develops at the base of the largest toe, although in some cases, you may experience it in your ankles, knees or hands. The most common sign of gout is sudden hotness, redness and swelling. Stiff and painful joints are also signs of this condition and severe tenderness can make it difficult to walk or otherwise move. In some cases, pain can be so severe that socks or even the lightest material can cause discomfort.
Without treatment, gout will typically stop as quickly as it started, normally within a week or two. The pain and swelling will dissipate, although gout typically returns to the same place and in the same joint. Over time, these attacks can become more regular and will normally last longer. The first sign of gout may only show up in one joint, but the condition can affect multiple joints over time, and those with gout will normally end up seeking medical treatment the longer they are affected by the condition.
Kidney Stones With Gout
Those who suffer from gout are much more prone to develop kidney stones. This is because the collection of crystals outside the joints can move into the kidneys, causing pain and inflammation which can be severe enough to warrant a hospital stay. These crystals are uric acid crystals which typically form at the back of the ankle, in the earlobes or in the elbows.
Gout Home Remedies:
Understanding the signs, symptoms and treatment of gout includes knowing what home remedies may be available. The most important remedy is to take prescribed medications as indicated by your physician. You can also use support to stay off of the swollen joint as much as possible. If the joints are in the feet, use a cane or other support to take weight off of the affected joint. Keeping the joints elevated and applying ice packs can also help to reduce pain and inflammation. Hydration is also important, so drink plenty of water. Many doctors recommend drinking cherry juice as cherries have properties that can help to decrease the severity of gout attacks.
There are typical medications prescribed to patients who suffer from gout. These medications are designed to help treat the swollen joints. Other medications may also be used to prevent future attacks and to help with the pain and discomfort of the condition. NSAIDS or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly used to treat the swelling and pain. These include over the counter medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen. New drugs have also recently been introduced that can help those who suffer from gout. These include Celebrex, and often, high doses of anti-inflammatory prescription medications are used for severe cases.
Surgery For Gout:
In really severe cases, surgery may be required to help alleviate joint damage that can occur. Surgery is a rare treatment and normally follows ineffective treatments where damage is incurred in spite of the patient taking prescribed medications and following doctor’s orders. Surgery is used to remove the crystals that build up around the joints, which can help to alleviate pain and swelling and some surgeries can be done to help repair joint damage caused by gout but again, these are only in the rarest of cases.
Seeing Your Doctor:
In order to fully understand gout signs, symptoms and treatments, you may need to visit your physician. Follow up after you have been diagnosed is crucial. Gout is typically treated in two different stages. The first stage is designed to treat the acute arthritis while the second stage is designed to help prevent gout attacks from occurring in the future. For those who suffer from acute attacks, anti-inflammatory medications can help.
Changing Your Diet:
Eating a diet that is low in cholesterol and fat can help you to avoid and to treat gout. Those who are diagnosed with gout have a much higher risk for heart disease. Avoiding foods that are high in purines such as red meats and shellfish is also helpful. Purines is metabolized into uric acid, which can lead to gout. Staying hydrated, watching your weight and restricting your alcohol intake can also help. Increasing dairy product intake, especially yogurt and nonfat milk, can help to lower the frequency of your gout attacks.
Living With Gout:
Now that you know the basic gout signs, symptoms and treatments, it is important that you maintain a good relationship with your physician regarding your condition. Your doctor can prescribe appropriate medications, but these medications may need to be adjusted over time.
Always report any changes in your gout, or in eating or sleeping habits or anything at all out of the ordinary when you begin taking any new medications. Speak with your doctor about things that you can do at home to lessen the effects of gout, speak about activities that you should avoid and restricting your diet.
Keeping a close relationship with your physician will help you to overcome the symptoms and effects of the condition and will ensure that you are doing everything that you can to lessen the frequency of your attacks. If you are not sure that you have gout, but you have the symptoms, you should make an appointment with your physician as soon as possible.
There are tests that can be done to determine if this painful type of arthritis is evident. Sometimes, bunions and other conditions, particularly those that affect the feet, are mistaken for gout.
It is important that you know and understand the basic gout signs, symptoms and treatments and use this information when you are speaking with your doctor. If you do have gout, there are a number of things that you can do that will make living with this condition a bit easier.
Again, speak with your doctor and try ice packs, over the counter anti-inflammatory medications and changing your diet to help you to better deal with the pain and swelling and to reduce the number and severity of attacks when they do happen.