When you think about gout (because, let’s admit it, we do it all the time) you might remember old memories of grandpa complaining about his “toe pain” or his love of sausage—risking yet another gout inflammation. While you won’t likely have to worry about gout until well into your forties, the truth is gout doesn’t have a minimum age to start giving out some serious pain.
Here’s the info on what gout is and what to do about it in case this “old man’s disease” starts wreaking havoc on your joints and in your life:
Gout, or Gouty Arthritis, occurs when uric acid builds up in your bloodstream and crystallizes in the joints. This crystallization most commonly happens in the big toes and thumbs, but gout can hit any joint and cause intense pain and joint erosion if left untreated. Uric acid can also build up under the skin, causing unsightly nodules called Tophi to form. Tophi and kidney stones are common with folks who endure advanced gout.
This kind of arthritis is more common in older men, but the ladies’ risk of gout rises as they go through menopause right up to the level of the guys’. Age and sex aside, what we eat also plays a big contributing factor for gout. A diet rich in high-purine foods ─ like organ meats, steak, high fructose drinks, seafood and beer ─ promotes higher productions of uric acid and a higher risk of gout for anybody.
So what can you do about gout? Eating a nutritious diet that limits high-purine foods, maintaining a healthy weight, and keeping an eye on your blood pressure are good preventative steps. If gout gets to you anyway, as it sometimes does after trauma or surgery, there are treatments available through your doctor to help alleviate the condition and ease the pain. The Mayo Clinic lists these medications that doctors commonly prescribe for cases of gout:
- NSAIDs, Colchicine, and Corticosteriods ─ These medications are often prescribed to help ease the agony that gout induces. NSAIDs, like Ibuprofin, ease the inflammation in the joints. Colchicine is especially effective in reducing the pain, though the possible side effects, like diarrhea and vomiting, aren’t so pleasant. Corticosteroids are available if the previous two options are intolerable.
- Xanthine Oxidase Inhibitors and Probenecid ─ These prescriptions reduce uric acid production and improves uric acid removal, respectively. XOIs commonly prescribed are allopurinol (Aloprim, Lopurin, Zyloprim) and febuxostat (Uloric). Both XOIs and Probenecid (aka Probalan) have side effects you’ll want to discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, but it may be worth it to take care of all that uric acid in your system and prevent future flare-ups.
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