Gout is one particular conditions which may be aided considerably with a change in lifestyle, and is a type of arthritis which is normally connected with “high living”. This condition causes a rather painful accumulation of crystals of the crystals around the joint. I have seen many gout patients through the years, and I think I have seen one or two a women through the years in my clinic complaining of the rather painful condition.
I can still remember the first gout patient I ever saw, I was practicing in the student clinic in the 90’s. A male aged mid forties came in complaining of an extremely painful right ankle and big toe. He was a mechanic who enjoyed a beer, actually he said: “Eric, I’ll do whatever you suggest, I will not be stopping my beer however, but I cannot live with this particular pain anymore”.
A gout attack of pain usually strikes unexpectedly, but generally subsides in just a few days with treatment. However, some guys can experience pain for several weeks with gout attacks often re-occurring and minus the correct management the attacks of pain may become more frequent and will be very debilitating indeed.
You should contact your physician if really severe pain in a joint recurs or lasts more than a few days, particularly if the pain is associated with chills or fever. Now let’s have a closer look at gout, what it really is and what causes it and more importantly, how we can help the gout patient with some good natural medicine suggestions.
Gout is arthritis
Gout is regarded as a form of rheumatism and is just about the most painful forms of arthritis. You can find different types of arthritis such as for example osteoarthritis, the “deterioration” arthritis of the bigger joints like hips, knees, back, etc. Then there is rheumatoid arthritis that is the inflammatory (heat) arthritis affecting small joints generally like the writs, fingers, etc.
And then there’s gout, what I call the “red-blooded male’s arthritis”. I can remember reading a book awhile ago concerning the era of the large ocean going vessels such as the Endeavour through the golden age of discovery. Many officers on board such vessels suffered terribly from gout.
Mind you, they were the commanding men who drank plenty of rum and ate plenty of beef with lashings of gravy. So what has changed? Blokes still prefer to command, drink rum and coke or cold beer, and eat hot steaks and what red-blooded guy doesn’t? I’ve never seen a committed vegetarian suffering with gout, and incredibly much doubt they even exist in this country.
Signs or symptoms of Gout
Recurrent, acute attacks of pain, tenderness, redness, inflammation and swelling around the smaller joints – especially the joint of the big toe. Why the big toe you ask? Common sense – because it is the joint at the lowest point of the body, the region where deposits of uric acid and other wastes have a tendency to form due to gravity. When you are right-handed, the right big toe joint could be more likely affected than you left, and vice versa.
This is due to you step off and lead together with your right foot as you walk, and is could have therefore a slightly better circulation of nutrients (and therefore also a little more deposition of wastes) than your left foot. Reflexologists often discuss “crystals” forming around the toe joints, and you can feel “crunching” sensations if you prod firmly under your toes or wiggle the toe joints at times.
The patient can also feel quite a sharp and rather intense pain in a little joint, specially the toe or wrist. The affected joint could be red, hot, swollen and even throbbing. It could feel “burning”. As earlier mentioned, the pain could be so unbearable that a good bed sheet could cause excrutiating pain.
Gout afflicts approximately around 0.5% of the populace of the western world.
Over 95% of gout sufferers are men aged 30 or higher.
Gout is twenty times much more likely in males than women.
Gout is strongly associated with being overweight and having raised blood pressure.
Gout can also occur in women, more commonly after menopause.
Maori (New Zealand indigenous peoples) and Pacific Islander peoples in particular tend to have high uric acid levels and are predisposed to gout, especially the Maori patients I see who love abalone, mussels, roe (fish eggs like caviar) and crayfish (like lobster). I’d expect that indigenous American or African peoples would similarly be suffering from gout, particulary when they reside in the developed Western countries and eat foods saturated in purines.
The type of individual mostly affected by gout can be an overweight man who drinks large amounts of alcohol, is a regular meat-eater, loves rich foods and who may have high cholesterol and raised blood pressure.
What can cause an acute gout attack?
Certain medications, such as some types of diuretics, could cause gout. Aspirin and niacin (Vitamin B3) may also raise uric acid levels.
Certain diseases can lead to an excessive production of uric acid in your body, including some leukaemias, lymphomas plus some haemoglobin (blood) disorders.
Some studies have indicated an elevated prevalence of low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) in people with gout.
Dehydration (alcohol & caffeine dehydrates).
Injury to a joint.
Excessive intake of purine-containing foods (see list below).
Heavy alcohol intake.
Recent surgery (this can be related to changes in the body fluid balance due to fasting before surgery).
Family history – hereditary.
What is Uric acid?
Approximately 70% of gout patients have an overproduction of uric acid, the remaining 30% of gout patients have a poor elimination of uric acid, so that it makes sense to eat fewer foods which help to produce uric acid, and improve uric acid elimination through the kidneys.
Uric acid is a by-product of the break down of certain foods in your body, and gout was once regarded as closely related just to diet. It really is now understood that inheriting an issue with the crystals excretion from the body is probably one of the most common reasons for gout to occur. Improving a person’s kidney function as much as possible has helped many gout sufferers I have seen over the years.
Uric acid may be the end product of the metabolism of chemicals called purine which are found in many foods. Purines are also found naturally in your body, and normally, the body disposes of excess uric acid via the urine, however in people with gout the crystals accumulates in the body.
This can be due to reduced excretion of the crystals by the kidneys or even to overproduction of the crystals by your body. This accumulation of uric acid may also cause kidney stones, and it doesn’t have a rocket scientist to work through that you need to improve the kidney function as much as is possible to help the patient overcome gout.
Gout can be quite painful indeed
How come gout hurts, where does all that pain result from? Simple, when the uric acid accumulate in the blood and tissues it can crystallise out right into a joint, forming a variety of tiny, jagged, needle-shaped crystals. This triggers an intense inflammatory response that causes a painful arthritis attack called a gout attack.
Maybe you have stood on a pin or perhaps a needle, perhaps some broken glass and got annoyed and irritated by this? Then you will know how a gout sufferer will feel – they could be most irritated and annoyed like a child who has just stood on a pin cushion. كيف تختفي البواسير الخارجية Pain has a way of bringing out the worst in lots of people! As I mentioned, gout commonly strikes the big toe, but other joints can be affected, like the instep, ankle, knee, wrist, elbow and fingers.
Acute pain is generally the initial symptom and the affected joint becomes inflamed (almost infected-looking): red, swollen, hot and extremely sensitive to the touch. I have many times seen a case of gout in the clinic that the patient’s doctor known as “osteoarthritis”, when in fact it had all the makings of gout. Signs and symptoms for instance a needle-like pain affecting the tiny joint, male patient who enjoys alcohol drinker, crayfish and roe (fish eggs), enjoys barbeques and steaks, etc. Common things eventually people commonly, I’ve often said.
The funny thing with guys is, you see them once you then don’t tend to see them again in the clinic. I believe that it’s purely the pain that brings them ultimately to start to see the practitioner. This is especially so for a few larger blokes I have seen where the pain was not helped to a large degree by the typical gout drugs, and then there’s much more of an urgency to that appointment.
I have often said that there surely is nothing more than a high degree of pain to bring a man to your room as a patient. If you are a normal reader of my column, you might recall that I’ve often said that males participate in the “John Wayne School of Health”: “I’ll be alright, there’s nothing wrong with me, and I’ll just get right back on that horse and continue riding”.
I can recall in one Western that even John Wayne himself visited see a doctor when the pain of a fairly large shotgun blast in his shoulder was preventing him from actually getting on his horse, and even then your doctor’s visit seemed was under duress!