What Causes Gout
High levels of uric acid have been pinpointed as the cause of gout, and individuals accumulate such levels usually after they have consumed considerable amounts of purines.
Purines are substances naturally found in the body, but certain animal parts, such as organ meats, contain higher concentrations of these. Herring, anchovies, and a few other types of fish also have high purine content. This is likewise true of mushrooms, asparagus, and a number of other non-animal foods.
The body produces uric acid as it breaks down the purine that has been consumed. The uric acid produced is normally dissolved in the blood and, when it goes through the kidneys, it should then be secreted in urine.
However, when the kidneys do not secrete enough uric acid, or the body produces too much of it, uric acid can build up and form urate crystals in the joints or the tissues surrounding it. This causes inflammation, swelling, and pain.
Symptoms That Tell You It Is Gout
Gout symptoms can vary from individual to individual; sometimes gout can appear as small nodules called tophi in the hands and elbows. Sometimes the fluid sacs or bursae that cushion the joints become inflamed, giving rise to a condition called bursitis. Generally, these are the symptoms that accompany gout:
• Swelling of the joints
• Reddening of the skin around the affected joint
• Throbbing and sometimes excruciating pain around the affected joint
• Sharp pain when the joint is moved
• Limited movement because of the inflamed joint
• Pain quite often starts in the big toe, the ankles, or the knees
If you have these symptoms it may be tempting to assume that you have gout, but it is important to take note that there are other diseases that have similar symptoms. The best way to find out if you have gout is to consult your physician.
A physician will likely offer pain medication as well as medication to eliminate the excess uric acid causing the gout. This medication will help reduce uric acid levels to normal or as near normal as possible. Quite often, this medication is part of long term treatment.
Get Help at IBJI
If you are suffering from any of the aforementioned symptoms, contact an IBJI orthopedic physician today for expert care.