Have you been experiencing any sudden, severe pain in your big toe lately? Perhaps it’s been feeling a bit…gouty? But don’t worry, we’re here to give you a lighthearted intro to this painful condition, so you can be prepared if it strikes. Let’s dive further to learn why gout occurs and how to prevent it.
What is Gout?
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that causes sudden, severe pain, swelling, and tenderness in the joints. It is caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints, which can happen when uric acid levels in the blood are too high.
What is uric acid?
Uric acid is a waste product that is produced when the body breaks down purines, substances that are found naturally in the body and in some foods. Normally, uric acid is filtered out of the blood by the kidneys and excreted in the urine. However, if the body produces too much uric acid or the kidneys do not filter it out efficiently, uric acid levels can build up in the blood.
Why gout occurs?
Gout occurs when uric acid levels in the blood become so high that uric acid crystals form in the joints. This can occur for a variety of causes, including:
- Eating a diet that is high in purines can increase the risk of gout. Purine-rich foods include red meat, meats, seafood, and sugary drinks.
- Alcohol consumption especially beer, can increase uric acid levels and the risk of gout.
- Overweight or obese people are more prone to get gout. This is because excess weight can cause the body to produce more uric acid and make it more difficult for the kidneys to filter it out.
- Certain medical conditions, such as kidney disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, can increase the risk of gout.
- Some medications, such as diuretics and aspirin, can also increase uric acid levels and the risk of gout.
Gout is a painful condition that can make it difficult to walk and enjoy everyday activities. But by understanding why gout occurs, you can take steps to prevent it and manage it effectively.
Risk factors for gout
In addition to the factors listed above, there are a number of other risk factors for gout, including:
- Gout is more common in older adults, especially men.
- Men are more prone than women to develop gout. Women, on the other hand, are more vulnerable after menopause.
- Having a family history of gout raises your risk of getting it.
There are a number of things you can do to prevent gout, including:
- Eat a diet that is low in purines and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Manage any underlying medical conditions: If you have any medical conditions that increase your risk of gout, such as kidney disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure, consult a doctor to manage them effectively.
- If you take medications to lower your uric acid levels, take them as prescribed by your doctor.
If you have gout, it is important to follow a podiatrist treatment plan to prevent future gout attacks and manage the condition over time.