What Is Gout?

Gout has been around for ages and one of the most frequently recorded illnesses in history. Did you know that over 2 million Americans suffer from gout attacks? And that Benjamin Franklin had a serious gouty arthritis? In the olden days people used to think that gout was a punishment for bad behaviour, and upon having gout they didn’t realise that it was in fact a medical condition, not a punishment sent from God!

You could wake up one morning with a big lump on your toes and in extreme pain, and the attacks and can last for hours or even weeks. The most commonly affected joint is the one on the big toe (called podagra which means “foot pain”) but the ankles, wrists, knees, elbow and fingers are also prone to gout attacks.

Anyone can suffer from the disease and recent studies have proven that gout is linked to drinking fizzy drinks, such as coke, mountain dew and Miranda. Although it’s possible for anyone to get gout at any stage in life, the disease is becoming increasingly common amongst men over the age of 40. Some of the factors that can lead to gout in men are over consumption of beer, a diet rich in fat, and also obesity. Knowing your family history and watching your diet is a good start in preventing gout.

One of the best forms of prevention is avoided certain foods. Uric acid is a by-product of purine, which is found on various foods that we eat like liver, shellfish, kidneys, brains, and sweetbreads. Other purine rich foods include Herring, yeast, Sardines, Hearts, Smelt
Mutton, Veal, Salmon, Haddock, Pheasant, Anchovies, Grouse, and Scallops just to name a few.

Uric acid is normally let out of the body as waste, however some people have an abnormality in their body’s ability to process uric acid therefore leading to gout. This is could also lead to kidney stones that will block the kidneys filtering tubules and eventually lead to kidney failure. There are different factors that affect the body’s ability to process uric acid and trigger gout attacks like Heredity; Obesity; Alcohol Intake; Excessive Weight Gain; Joint Injury’s; Abnormal Kidney Function; High Blood Pressure; Recent Surgery’s; Drugs like aspirin, niacin, cyclosporine; and Diseases Leukemia and Hemoglobin disorders.

Although hyperuricemia increases the risk of gout attacks, the relationship between the two remains unclear. There are those with hyperuricemia that do not develop gout and at the same time there are also people with low levels of uric acid in their blood but yet suffers from gout attacks.

Gout has been present amongst human as far back as the Egyptians were on the earth. This would make it 4000 years old (if not longer!) Scientists found evidence in the bones of mummies in Egyptian tombs that gout existed as far back as the Egyptians. They found inscriptions on pyramid walls that said “Persons affected with the gout who are aged, had gout in their joints, who have led a hard life, and whose bowels are constipated are beyond the power of medicine to cure.”

If your family has a history of the disease then you have a higher chance of picking up gout as medical research has proven that gout is also genetic. However you shouldn’t worry about getting gout too much as a proper diet and healthy living regime can help to ensure that you are protected against gout.

Nowadays due to the extent of research that has been made into Gout there are many forms of pain relief that are available on prescription for people to take. Your doctor will be able to advise you on the best source of pain relief that will be well suited to you. Also you can visit a dietician and discuss the many natural remedies that are available as a pain relief from gout.