How to manage gout arthritis

Gout is a metabolic disease most often affecting middle-aged to elderly men and post-menopausal women.

Gout is a metabolic disease most often affecting middle-aged to elderly men and post-menopausal women.

It is characterised by a raised but variable blood uric acid level and severe recurrent acute joint inflammation of sudden onset resulting from deposition of crystals of sodium urate in soft tissues such as pinna and articular cartilage.

These urate crystals can also be deposited in the kidneys leading to kidney diseases such as kidney stones and interstitial nephritis

People with gout either produce too much uric acid, or more commonly, their bodies have a problem in removing it.

There are a number of possible consequences of this buildup of uric acid in the body, including acute and chronic gouty arthritis, and local deposits of uric acid (tophi) in the skin and other tissues. Gout may occur alone (primary gout) or may be associated with other

Gouty arthritis is a common cause of a sudden onset of a painful, hot, red, swollen joint, particularly in the foot at the big toe.

Gouty arthritis is reportedly the most common cause of inflammatory arthritis in men over the age of 40. It is definitively diagnosed by detecting uric acid (monosodium urate) crystals in an aspirated sample of the joint fluid.

These uric acid crystals can accumulate in the joint and tissues around the joint over years, intermittently triggering repeated bouts of acute inflammation. Repeated “attacks” of gouty arthritis, or “flares,” can damage the joint and lead to chronic arthritis. Fortunately, while gout is a progressive disease, there are effective medications to treat gout.

Research from Harvard Medical School reported the results of a national study of 14,809 participants, ages 20 years and older, that looked at the relationship between levels of meat, seafood, and dairy intake and levels of uric acid in the blood.

Those who consumed milk one or more times per day had lower blood uric acid levels than those who did not drink milk. Moreover, those who consumed yogurt at least once every other day had a lower blood uric acid than those who did not.

Who is at risk of gout?

Although most cases are inherited resulting from a variety of abnormalities of purine metabolism, several other events may precipitate acute gouty arthritis such as Increased dietary purine containing foods especially red meat e.g. beefs, goat meat, pork, Trauma, surgery, excessive alcohol consumption, leukemia some anti-cancer drugs kidney disease Serious medical illnesses such as myocardial infarction and stroke.

Other conditions usually associated with gout include:

Once a diagnosis of gout has been made by your doctor, it is usually advised to check for these other conditions and exclude them, Hypertension Ischemic heart disease metabolic syndrome

Diagnosis and management of gout

Dr Ian Shyaka a master student of internal medicine at makerere medical school says that. The diagnosis of gout is based on the identification of uric acid crystals in joints, tissues or body fluids.

“Treatment goals include termination of the acute attack, prevention of recurrent attacks and prevention of complications associated with the deposition of urate crystals in tissues “he says

Dr Shyaka continues to say. That Uric acid, the end product of purine metabolism, is a waste product that has no physiologic role.

Humans lack uricase, an enzyme that breaks down uric acid into a more water-soluble product (allantoin), thus preventing uric acid accumulation.

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