Gout is known to be a rheumatoid form of arthritis that causes inflammation, intense pain, discomfort and swelling of the affected regions. Gout mainly tends to affect the joints, especially those of the lower body limbs, such as toes, heels, ankles, knees. In some cases, gout may cause inflammation of the elbows and hand wrists. Skin and soft tissue such as tendons and muscles can also be affected by the disease, losing their flexibility and elasticity.
The main cause of gout is the clustering of uric acid crystals in the arteries, obstructing normal blood flow and causing inflammation. Due to either excessive production of uric acid in the body or renal insufficiency (sometimes the kidneys are unable to eliminate the surplus of uric acid), uric acid accumulates, crystallizes and deposits in different body regions. Food intake plays a major role in the development of gout. Some foods are rich in fat and purine, a substance that is synthesized by the organism into uric acid and therefore may aggravate the symptoms of gout. Smoking and the consumption of alcohol should be considerably reduced when suffering from gout, as these factors affect the secretion of uric acid, contributing to its accumulation within the body.
People who suffer from gout may experience sudden, unexpected pain episodes that tend to reoccur periodically. This may be a first sign of chronic gout. The pain is sometimes more intense during the night in the case of some people who suffer from gout. Another form of gout, referred to as pseudogout, occurs due to the accumulation of crystallized calcium in the joints, instead of uric acid.
Gout is more likely to be developed by men (almost 90 percent of people diagnosed with gout are male), usually after the age of 40. In some cases, women at menopause can be affected by the disease too. Gout rarely occurs to children and young adults.
Gout is considered to have a pronounced hereditary character. Research results indicate that some people who suffer from gout have a family history of the disease.
Obesity is another important factor that leads to the development of gout. The organisms of overweight people tend to produce more uric acid. Obesity also increases the risks of injury at the level of the joints.
Other factors that may facilitate the development of gout are prolonged treatments with diuretics, previous surgeries, the presence of certain diseases that affect blood circulation or extreme medical treatments such as chemotherapy.
It is very important to control gout through the means of an appropriate diet. It is best to keep away from cigarettes and alcohol, as these factors are known to aggravate the disease. Drink plenty of water to facilitate the elimination of excessive uric acid (you should drink around 2 liters of water a day). Lastly, try to avoid a sedentary lifestyle; exercise regularly to keep your body in good shape.