Diseases & Conditions


GoutCausesMedicationsPreventionRisk FactorsSymptomsTreatmentTypes

What is Gout?

Gout is characterized by persistent attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis. It can be caused by the presence of an excess level of uric acid in the bloodstream which tends to deposit in joints, tendons and tissues.

Causes of Gout

Hyperuricemia or the increased level of uric acid in the blood is the underlying cause of this disease, though this medical condition can occur due to a number of reasons like diet, genetic factors and under- excretion or overproduction of urinary salts or uric acid. A person’s dietary habits including consumption of alcohol, fructose, meat and seafood can be accounted as the main reasons for this condition. A few rare genetic disorders pertaining to the kidney and the urinary tract system also lead to this disease. Abdominal obesity, hypertension and abnormal lipid levels have also been known to pave way for this disorder. Medication like niacin, aspirin and other diuretics increase the risk of gout.

Medication of Gout

Medication is done in three forms – pain reducers, anti-inflammatory drugs and medicines to manage the chronic metabolic disorder. Tylenol and other medicinal agents containing acetaminophen can be used as painkillers. Non-steroidal drugs like NSAIDS, Colchicines (Colcrys) and Corticosteroids can be used to reduce inflammation in the joints. Common medicines used as non-inflammatory drugs include Indocin and Naprosyn. To control further gouty arthritis attacks, it is necessary to give an hourly dose of Zyloprim or Uloric. It is mandatory to avoid aspirin and other diuretics while undergoing a course for gout.

Prevention of Gout

A balanced diet with low levels of fructose and purine-rich foods could be helpful in reducing the risk of gout attacks. Avoiding alcohol and including dairy products in your diet is essential. It is mandatory to increase the liquid intake to the body and regular aerobics and exercises to keep the body fit.

Risk Factors of Gout

The presence of abnormally low thyroid hormone levels in the human body can be accounted for as a primary risk factor. Patients develop a certain vulnerability to gout and those patients at risk of developing this disorder could worsen it due a number of reasons like dehydration, joint injury, fever, alcohol intake and surgeries. It is a genetic disorder which means that the offspring of a gout patient could possibly be at a higher risk of getting it. Obesity and dietary habits could put a person at risk of gout. Further, a person’s lifestyle, climate and physical habits could influence his vulnerability to this disorder.

Symptoms of Gout

Gout attacks have been known to begin late at night or early in the morning. The common symptoms of a gout attack include severe pain at bone joints where the pain could be as bad as a broken or a dislocated bone segment. Walking or using the legs and placing light weights on the legs could be a painful experience. In some cases, the swelling may extend beyond the joint and form a red and shiny skin boil over the affected area. The disorder is further symptomized by chills, loss of appetite and mild fever.

Treatment of Gout

Treating gout follows two stages – stopping the joint inflammation caused by the disease and to address the actual disease with a view to curb it. Maintaining adequate fluid intake, proper urination and control of body weight with the necessary changes are the primary steps involved. Alcohol has to be avoided since it works as a diuretic. Dietary changes include reduction of purine-rich foods in the diet and increased dairy products. Home remedial treatment for the joints is by using an icepack.

Types of Gout

The two common types of gout are primary and secondary gout of which the cause of the former is usually not known. While primary gout could be of genetic, hormonal and dietary origin, secondary gout is usually due to medical conditions that cause an increased level of uric acid in the blood.