Gout is a type of arthritis that affects 1 out of 100 people. There are different types of gout that exhibit different kinds of symptoms and characteristics. This medical condition is brought about by an unusually high level of uric acid in the blood. More and more people have been affected by gout, even those living in developed countries. Diet, lifestyle, medications, and age are the primary factors that foster the development of gout. Symptoms of a gout attack include severe pain in the affected joint, inflammation that stretches beyond the affected area, reddened and tight skin, mild fever, and feeling sick all the time.
It is a kind of gout that is characterized by an excessive amount of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid joins the blood circulation through the liver. Normally, it is supposed to be removed from the body through urine. The average level of uric acid is between 2.4 to 6mg/dl. One element that affects the levels of uric acid is purine. This nitrogen-containing compound is present in the body through the cells and the foods you eat. Purine is broken down to be converted into uric acid. The excess builds up in the tissues and becomes the cause of soaring uric acid levels.
Crystals are formed when the uric acid level climbs up to 7mg/dl. This is when kidney stones and gout are developed. Hyperuricemia occurs when there is an overproduction of uric acid and the body is unable to excrete the appropriate amount. There are also secondary causes of an extremely high uric acid level such as undergoing a medical treatment like chemotherapy. If there is an existing kidney problem, it may be difficult for your body to excrete uric acid through urine. Certain medications and health condition like diabetes can also cause uric acid to rise up.
Acute attacks or acute gouty arthritis is one of the types of gout that can happen even without provocation. Or, it can be triggered by various conditions that cause the uric acid level to rise. The risks of gout attacks are increased through alcohol consumption, excessive weight, high blood pressure, and exposure to lead. Sudden changes in the amount of uric acid in the body can incite gout attacks. The uric acid levels can fluctuate without warning when a person is fasting, indulging himself too much in alcohol, and maintaining a diet that consist mainly of purine-rich foods.
Patients who suffer from acute gout attacks complain of an agonizing pain, soreness, inflammation, redness of skin, hotness, and tenderness. Sometimes, the attacks are accompanied by mild fever that is probably set off by the inflammation. Acute attacks can last up to 48 hours. If left untreated, it can go on for several painful days. Attacks usually occur during night time and a mild pain is felt at first. After a few hours, the pain’s intensity increases. It will continue to gnaw and persist until proper medication is administered.
It is usually the lower extremity that is at risk of experiencing initial gout attacks. This area almost always gets affected first because of its low temperature. An injury to the foot can also provoke an acute attack. During the attacks, pain and inflammation occur because urate crystals stimulate the inflammatory processes of the cells. Because of the symptoms exhibited by acute gout attacks, many patients receive misdiagnosis.
This is a condition that happens in between gout attacks. At this phase, the patient does not experience any symptom and the joints are back to their normal state. At this stage, the doctor will make a decision whether to treat the patient or not. Generally, patients of any kinds of gout need medical attention and treatment. Some medical experts agree that an initial attack of acute gout deserve to get initiated with hyperuricemic treatment. But others argue that prophylactic therapy should only be initiated when additional attacks occur.
Chronic or tophaceous gout is the buildup of monosodium urate crystals in the blood and soft tissues. When there’s an accumulation of uric acid in the blood, urate crystals starts taking shape and develop into tophi. Gout tophi start growing after a patient has suffered several gout attacks. About one quarter of gout patients will develop tophi at a certain degree. These patients are usually the elderly and they may have bigger problems if they are not allowed to take drugs like allopurinol and febuxostat.
Tophi develop in two ways. They can grow from the affected joint, causing damage to it and the neighboring bone. Or, they can develop in different body parts, cartilage, and tendons. Tophi appear like bulging deformities with purplish color. This is one of the types of gout that best represent the disease. They grow on bones or into them.
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