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Gout: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment

Jun 09, 2023

Gout: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment

A painful variety of arthritis is gout. Sharp crystals can develop in your joints, most commonly in your big toe, when your body has an excess of uric acid. Gout attacks are periodic flare-ups of symptoms like pain and edema. Treatment often consists of symptom management along with food modification.

Read this blog further to get a quick overview of this important topic for medicine and ace your NEET PG exam preparation.

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Causes of Gout

Gout is mostly brought on by hyperuricemia, or an excess of uric acid in the blood. When purines are broken down by the body, uric acid is produced. These are substances that are abundantly present in a number of meals and beverages, including alcohol, turkey and goose, liver, and shellfish. People who are seeking to reduce their intake of purines may want to choose duck or chicken instead, and they should completely avoid organ meats.

Normally, uric acid dissolves in the blood and is eliminated through the kidneys in the form of urine. It can pile up and form needle-like crystals if the body produces too much uric acid or does not eliminate enough of it. These cause the tissues around the joints to swell and hurt.

Types of Gout

The types pertain to the different gout stages that is either unnoticed hyperuricemi.

or Elevated uric acid levels can exist in people who show no signs of illness. High uric acid levels in the blood can induce "silent" tissue damage, even if people do not need treatment at this time.

  • Severe gout- This occurs when uric acid crystals suddenly cause acute inflammation and excruciating pain in a joint. This attack could last for three days to two weeks.Reliable Source. These outbreaks, or flares, can be exacerbated by stress and binge drinking.
  • Periodic or intermittent gout- The time between acute gout attacks is at this point. These intervals shorten as the gout worsens. Between these times, tissues may continue to accumulate uric acid crystals.
  • Recurring tophaceous gout- The joints and kidneys may sustain long-term damage in this form, which is the most severe. People may have persistent arthritis at this point, and tophi may form in the body's colder regions, including the joints of the fingers.
  • Trusted Source of acute gout attacks, chronic tophaceous gout normally develops over a long period of time. On the other hand, gout is unlikely to progress to this level if a person obtains appropriate treatment.
  • Pseudogout-Pseudogout, also known as calcium pyrophosphate deposition, is one disorder that is simple to confuse with gout. Even though gout flare-ups are typically milder, the symptoms are very similar. The main distinction between gout and pseudogout is that calcium pyrophosphate crystals, not uric acid crystals, irritate the joints. 

Symptoms of Gout

Gout episodes almost always start suddenly and happen frequently at night. They include:

Severe joint discomfort. Gout commonly affects the big toe, though it can affect any joint. soreness that lasts a long time. After the most extreme pain has subsided, some joint soreness may linger for a few days to a few weeks. Later episodes are probably longer and more likely to affect many joints.

Both erythema and edema. Swelling, pain, warmth, and redness occur in affected joints.

a very limited range of motion. When you have gout, you might not be able to move your joints normally.

Risk Factors of Gout

Anyone can develop gout. Three times as likely to get gout are those who were assigned male at birth (AMAB). Gout typically doesn't strike people who were born with the gender ascribed to them (AFAB) until after menopause. Gout is more common in people with a number of medical disorders, including:

  • Weight gain or obesity.
  • Enlarged heart disease.
  • Diabetes.
  • (High blood pressure) Hypertension.
  • Kidney illness.
  • The blood cancer.

Diagnosis of Gout

A few imaging procedures may be used by our healthcare professional to capture images of your damaged joints. These tests might also reveal whether the gout has altered your joints in any way. You could require

  • X-rays.
  • Ultrasound.
  • (MRI) Magnetic resonance imaging.
  • A dual-energy CT scan, or a CT (computed tomography) scan.

Other typical examinations to identify gout include:

  • Uric acid levels in the blood can be determined via blood testing.
  • Joint aspiration involves taking a sample of fluid from inside a joint using a needle.

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Treatment for Gout

Gout medications can be divided into two categories that each focus on a different problem. The first kind helps to lessen the discomfort and edema that are brought on by gout attacks. To avoid gout complications, the second kind lowers the level of uric acid in your blood. Which type of medication is best for you will depend on the frequency and severity of your symptoms.

Treatment for Gout Attacks

Medications used to treat gout flare-ups and stop new attacks include:

  • NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. NSAIDs include over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and other brands) and naproxen sodium (Aleve), as well as stronger prescription NSAIDs such celecoxib (Celebrex) or indomethacin (Indocin, Tivorbex). NSAIDs include hazards, including stomach pain.
  • Colchicine. Your doctor can advise colchicine (Colcrys, Gloperba, Mitigare), an anti-inflammatory drug that greatly lowers gout symptoms. The medication's side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, may exceed its advantages.
  • Corticosteroids. Prednisone and other corticosteroid medications may lessen the gout-related pain and inflammation. Corticosteroids can be taken orally or administered intravenously to a joint. Blood pressure and blood sugar elevations, as well as mood swings, are side effects of corticosteroids.

Drugs to Avoid Gout Complications

Your doctor may prescribe medication to lower your risk of gout-related problems if you have multiple gout attacks annually or if your gout attacks are less frequent but more severe. Medication to lower your body's level of uric acid may be advised if you have tophi, chronic renal disease, kidney stones, or joint X-rays that show signs of gout damage.

  • Medications that prevent the synthesis of uric acid. Allopurinol (Aloprim, Lopurin, Zyloprim) and febuxostat (Uloric) are medications that assist in reducing the production of uric acid in your body. Allopurinol has a number of adverse effects, including fever, rash, hepatitis, and kidney issues. Rash, nausea, and a decline in liver function are all side effects of febuxostat. Additionally, Febuxostat may raise the risk of heart-related diseases.
  • Medications that prevent the synthesis of uric acid. Allopurinol (Aloprim, Lopurin, Zyloprim) and febuxostat (Uloric) are medications that assist in reducing the production of uric acid in your body. Allopurinol has a number of adverse effects, including fever, rash, hepatitis, and kidney issues. Rash, nausea, and a decline in liver function are all side effects of febuxostat. Febuxostat may also raise the chance of dying from heart-related causes.
  • Medications that facilitate the elimination of uric acid. Probenecid (Probalan), among other medications, helps your kidneys do a better job of eliminating uric acid from your body. 

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