Gout is one of those conditions which is often aided considerably with a big change in diet and lifestyle, and is a type of arthritis which is normally connected with “high living”. This condition causes a fairly painful accumulation of crystals of uric acid around the joint. I have seen many gout patients over the years, and I think I have seen one or two a women over time in my clinic complaining of the rather painful condition.

I can still remember the initial 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, in fact he said: “Eric, I’ll do whatever you suggest, I won’t be stopping my beer however, but I can’t live with this 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 many weeks with gout attacks often re-occurring and without the correct management the attacks of pain may become more frequent and can be very debilitating indeed.

You should contact your doctor if really severe pain in a joint recurs or lasts more than a few days, especially if the pain is accompanied by chills or fever. Now let’s have a closer look at gout, what it is and what causes it and much more importantly, how we might help the gout patient with the right natural medicine suggestions.

Gout is arthritis

Gout is regarded as a form of rheumatism and is probably the most painful forms of arthritis. There are different types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis, the “deterioration” arthritis of the bigger joints like hips, knees, back, etc. Then there’s rheumatoid arthritis that is the inflammatory (heat) arthritis affecting the smaller joints generally just like the writs, fingers, etc.

And then there’s gout, what I call the “red-blooded male’s arthritis”. I could remember reading a book awhile ago concerning the era of the large ocean going vessels like the Endeavour during the golden age of discovery. Many officers on board such vessels suffered terribly from gout.

Mind you, they were the commanding men who drank a lot of rum and ate plenty of beef with lashings of gravy. Just what exactly has changed? Blokes still like to command, drink rum and coke or cold beer, and eat hot steaks and what red-blooded guy doesn’t? I have never seen a committed vegetarian suffering with gout, and incredibly much doubt they even exist in this country.

Signs and 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 cheapest point of the body, the area where deposits of uric acid and other wastes tend to form due to gravity. In case you are right-handed, the right big toe joint will 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 talk about “crystals” forming around the toe joints, and you can feel “crunching” sensations if you prod firmly under your toes or wiggle the toe joints sometimes.

The patient can also feel a significant sharp and rather intense pain in a small joint, specially the toe or wrist. The affected joint could be red, hot, swollen and even throbbing. It could feel “burning”. As previously mentioned, the pain can be so unbearable that even a bed sheet can cause excrutiating pain.

Gout statistics

Gout afflicts approximately around 0.5% of the populace of the western world.

Over 95% of gout sufferers are men aged 30 or over.

Gout is twenty times much more likely in males than women.

Gout is strongly connected with being overweight and having raised blood pressure.

Gout may also occur in women, more commonly after menopause.

Maori (New Zealand indigenous peoples) and Pacific Islander peoples in particular tend to have high the crystals levels and so 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 live in the developed Western countries and eat foods high in purines.

The type of individual mostly affected by gout is an overweight man who drinks huge amounts of alcohol, is a regular meat-eater, loves rich foods and who may have high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

What causes an acute gout attack?

Certain medications, such as for example some types of diuretics, can cause gout. Aspirin and niacin (Vitamin B3) can also raise uric acid levels.

Certain diseases can lead to an excessive production of uric acid within the body, including some leukaemias, lymphomas and some haemoglobin (blood) disorders.

Some studies have indicated an increased prevalence of low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) in people who have gout.

Dehydration (alcohol & caffeine dehydrates).

Injury to a joint.

Excessive intake of purine-containing foods (see list below).

Heavy alcohol intake.

Recent surgery (this may be related to changes in the torso fluid balance because of fasting before surgery).

النقرس Family history – hereditary.

What is Uric acid?

Approximately 70% of gout patients have an overproduction of uric acid, the rest of the 30% of gout patients have a poor elimination of uric acid, so that it makes sense to consume fewer foods which help to produce uric acid, and improve the crystals elimination through the kidneys.

Uric acid is a by-product of the break down of certain foods within the body, and gout was once considered to be closely related merely to diet. It really is now understood that inheriting an issue with uric acid excretion from the body is most likely one of the most common reasons for gout that occurs. Improving a person’s kidney function as much as possible has helped many gout sufferers I have seen over the years.

Uric acid is 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 because of reduced excretion of the crystals by the kidneys or even to overproduction of the crystals by the body. This accumulation of uric acid could also cause kidney stones, also it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that you need to improve the kidney function as much as is possible to greatly help the patient overcome gout.

Gout can be extremely painful indeed

How come gout hurts, where does all that pain come from? Simple, when the uric acid accumulate in the blood and tissues it could crystallise out right into a joint, forming a multitude of tiny, jagged, needle-shaped crystals. This triggers a rigorous inflammatory response that causes an agonizing arthritis attack called a gout attack.

Have you ever stood on a pin or perhaps a needle, perhaps some broken glass and got annoyed and irritated by this? You then will know how a gout sufferer will feel – they may be most irritated and annoyed just like a child who has just stood on a pin cushion. Pain includes a way of bringing out the worst in many 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 first symptom and the affected joint becomes inflamed (almost infected-looking): red, swollen, hot and extremely sensitive to the touch. I’ve many times seen an incident of gout in the clinic that the patient’s doctor known as “osteoarthritis”, when actually it had all the makings of gout. Signs and symptoms such as a needle-like pain affecting the small joint, male patient who enjoys alcohol drinker, crayfish and roe (fish eggs), enjoys barbeques and steaks, etc. Common things happen to people commonly, I’ve often said.

The funny thing with guys is, you see them once then you don’t tend to see them again in the clinic. I really believe that it’s purely the pain that brings them ultimately to start to see the practitioner. That is especially so for a few larger blokes I’ve seen where the pain had not been helped to a big degree by the standard gout drugs, and then there is a lot more of an urgency to that appointment.

I have often said that there is nothing more than a high degree of pain to bring a guy to your room as an individual. If you are a regular reader of my column, you may recall that I’ve often said that males participate in the “John Wayne School of Health”: “I’m going to be alright, there is nothing wrong with me, and I’ll just get back on that horse and continue riding”.

I can recall in one Western that even John Wayne himself went to see a doctor when the pain of a rather large shotgun blast in his shoulder was preventing him from actually getting on his horse, and also then the doctor’s visit seemed was under duress!

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