You awake in the morning to an unbearable sensation in your big toe. It feels hot, swollen and so sensitive that even the mere touch of the sheets is painful. This could be gout, a form of arthritis.
According to podiatrists, more than 8 Million people suffer from gout, an inflammatory disease of the joints. In more than half the people that develop gout, the inflammation first appears at the base joint of your big toe. Many people ignore initial signs, but doctors say ongoing pain and inflammation is a sign of something more serious. Podiatrists warn where there’s swelling, redness, and lots of foot pain Clear Lake IA residents should have a doctor’s consultation.
What Is Gout And How It Occurs
Gout occurs when the purine metabolism is disturbed. Purines are needed for the formation of new cells and are contained in all of our body’s cells, as well as contained in foods. Everything that is not needed for purines is broken down by the body. This produces uric acid. Usually this acid is completely eliminated, but this does not occur for everyone, and men are more prone for this to happen.
How Is Gout Noticeable? In the blood, an elevated uric acid level is often detectable early. But podiatrists say sometimes it can take many years to feel pain in the joints. If the uric acid level rises permanently, it can suddenly lead to a painful gout attack, usually in the big toe. The affected area will become inflamed, swollen, and very painful, and could make mobility difficult or even impossible.
Who Is Affected? Men are more likely than women to experience it, and older people between the ages of 40 and 60 are more likely to be affected. Women that are affected usually get gout after menopause, when the lack of estrogen affects kidney function. Gout is also more common in industrialized nations than in poorer countries due to the different eating habits.
The Risk Factors And Preventing Gout
In the past, gout was a disease mostly associated with gluttony, but doctors have found that genetic predisposition plays a far greater role. This doesn’t mean an unhealthy diet does not have a role. Regular and abundant alcohol consumption, especially beer, and processed, protein-rich meats and sausages, combined with a lack of exercise can cause an increased production of uric acid, leading to gout.
It is important to recognize the gout symptoms early on. If you are hereditary, you should have your uric acid levels checked regularly. Patients with chronic gout are rare today, but doctors say any over-production of uric acid can cause health concerns, and must be checked.
If gout is diagnosed early, permanent damage can usually be avoided. And the right gout diet plays an important role. A change in lifestyle habits and proper nutrition can prevent gout outbreaks, and if already diagnosed with the disease, commonly prescribed drugs can quickly contain the problem. It’s important to recognize gout symptoms, but having regular doctor checkups will play a far greater role in preventing any attacks.