How to Overcome the Symptoms of Gout

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Gout is one of the oldest and most painful diseases known to man. In the middle ages a gout patient was described as someone who was rich, corpulent and aristocratic, particularly one with enormous appetite for food, drink and women. And it is almost and always associated with men.

The symptoms of gout are irregular, excruciatingly painful attacks that are felt in the joints although typically each gouty episode affects one joint at a time. The most commonly affected joints are those of the big toe, which becomes red and swollen, hot and painful so that even the weight of a bed sheet seems unbearable.

Other joints such as the knees and elbows are also affected, but one at a time.

The attacks usually last for about two weeks and then subside, recurring at some time in the future. The re-occurrence of the attacks varies – sometimes the gout symptoms don’t entirely disappear, causing a patient to feel pain all the time.

With current medical technologies and with the use of advanced microscopic examination the real cause of gout was finally identified. And the culprit was none other than uric acid. The excruciating pain in the joints is due to the pointy crystals of uric acid.

Some patients have too much uric acid in their system, and they tend to develop yellowish chalk-like deposits around the joints or in other parts of their body such as the ear lobes. Most patients of gout have blood levels that show elevated uric acid, a manifestation of gout in their system.

The next step is finding ways to decrease and control the formation of excessive uric acid that usually accompanies a gluttonous lifestyle. Uric acid is actually a by-product of purine; a type of protein found in many commonly consumed foods.

It is therefore rational to conclude that gout is caused by excessive protein in the diet especially those proteins that are rich in purines. With this information to guide doctors, they have placed gout patients in a series of low-protein diets that are low in purines. Likewise, drugs that prevent formation of uric acid are given.

Patients are also advised to choose lean meats, low fat dairy products and limit the intake of fats in their diet. Newer theories on gout suggest that the gout disease is not only the result of a high protein diet (it has been observed patients suffering from different diseases also have high levels of uric acid) it may also be caused by excessive consumption of refined sugar and flour. This might help to explain why most gout patients are obese.

Lastly, gout is truly a disease that results from the inability of the kidney to excrete enough uric acid to keep it from building up inside the body. Nevertheless, a treatment program that includes a decrease in protein intake plus the use of other medication helps to prevent the build up of uric acid and lowering chances of gout attacks.

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