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Gout - What to Do Before It's Too Late
Written By : M. Lieberman 
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Gout is a very common type of arthritis that always causes both inflammation and swelling, along with pain in the joints. The condition is caused due to an accumulation of uric crystals in the joints and muscular tissues. In the majority of cases, the actual cause is a high uric acid concentration. Uric acid is basically a substance that is synthesized during the body's metabolism. Uric acid is actually a waste product that is excreted by the kidneys in the urine. When there are high uric acid levels, they are result of either an overproduction or inadequate excretion of the uric acid. The majority of all gout cases are from low levels of uric acid being excreted and this can cause kidney dysfunctions.

Gout usually manifests itself as an attack, usually during the night. The joint most often affected by the attack is in one of the big toes, but gout can also affect the ankle joints too. If gout is not treated, the attacks become more frequent and can spread to other joints. When this happens, medical treatment is an absolute necessity, because gout can eventually cripple the joints.

Gout occurs in individuals who have high levels of uric acid in their body. The uric acid is actually created from the foods you eat, which in turn is digested and the body absorbs the nutrients. When there is too much of the uric acid in the blood, it begins to form crystals in the joints and this causes the irritation and inflammation. The main cause of too much uric acid in the blood can be caused by obesity, certain types of medication or too much alcohol consumption.

Gout is diagnosed based on the patient's clinical symptoms. For an accurate diagnosis to be confirmed, your doctor will order   blood profiles and/or a microscopic exam of tissue samples. The actual process of diagnosing gout will involve finding traces of uric acid in both the joints and soft tissues.

Sometimes the body overproduces uric acid because of physiological abnormalities, such as the abnormal activity of certain enzymes. Gout can be seen in people who have or had a family history of the disease. If there is an under excretion of uric acid, this is an abnormal activity of the kidneys and can result in people with kidney disorders being more susceptible of developing gout.

The main symptoms of gout are generally either predictable or unpredictable and the person often experiences intense pain in the joints. The attacks of pain intensify during the night and can last from a few hours to a few days.

If your gout is not treated for extended periods of time, then complications may occur. Uric acid salts will form around the joints, causing small painful bulges. These will require special medication prescribed by your doctor.

Medical treatment for gout generally involves: controlling the uric acid levels and relieving the attacks. To help manage the pain, doctors will usually prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) or corticosteroid injections. In conjunction with the proper diet and lifestyle changes, medical treatments can help to overcome gout in time and reduce the chances of relapse.

If your goal is to prevent or treat your gout, then you must try and reduce the buildup of uric acid sfrom your blood. This can be accomplished by changes in your diet.  For example, cut down and minimize your consumption of red meat, liver, shellfish and peas. There are medications used to lower the amount of uric acid from the body, but do not take them unless your doctor has specifically instructed you to, because they can cause problems if the dosage is not properly controlled.

If you suffer from gout attacks, make an appointment with your doctor and follow his/her advice. You will have a prescription to take each day as well as changes to your diet, both of which will help to reduce the amount uric acids in your blood.

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