Gout: The Rich Man’s Disease
September 06, 2021
Gout was historically known as a “rich man’s disease” because it was thought to be caused by a “rich” diet (heavy in meat). Whereas gout is actually a type of inflammatory arthritis caused by buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. It is characterized by recurrent attacks of a red, hot, tender and swollen joint. The joint at the base of the big toe is affected in half of the cases. It may also result in tophi (lumps of urate growing under the skin), kidney stones or kidney damage.
Gout is due to a persistently high levels of uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia). This can occur due to various reasons like diet, health problems and genetic factors. It occurs commonly in those who regularly consume meat, seafood, drink beer or are overweight.
Gout symptoms almost always occur suddenly, and often at night. Symptoms are: intense joint pain, lingering discomfort, inflammation and redness and limited range of motion. One diagnostic test that doctors are able to do is the joint fluid test, where fluid is extracted from the affected joint and examined for uric acid crystals.
During an acute gout attack, treatment with Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) or colchicine can alleviate symptoms. Once acute attack subsides, uric acid can be lowered via lifestyle modification or taking allopurinol.
Regularly monitor your uric acid level via blood test as it can help to prevent gout attack and its complications.