Once known to the populace as being the “disease of kings,” gout has a long history of affecting men of a more portly nature, due to their ability to overindulge in high quality foods and an enjoyment of alcohol. In modern times, where rich food is readily available to all, gout has become more akin to a royal pain for a person of any size who finds themselves eating a bit too well.
A Definition of Gout
Gout is a disease based on the accumulation of excessive uric acid in one area. Uric acid is a waste product found readily in the bloodstream, but after gathering enough in a single location the uric acid will crystallize inside tissue and joints. Gout reveals itself to a victim by providing debilitating pain to one area, usually occurring first in the large toe. Gout often occurs post traumatic event or injury, and can lead to chronic problems in the area it occurs in.
If gout continues to attack the body inhibited and develops into a true chronic problem, it is known to spread to the remaining joints of the body before leading to kidney impairment and stones, plus continuation of developing crystals in the joints.
Who Does Gout Target?
Chronic gout is known to be currently affecting approximately 2.1 million Americans, found most reliable in men between the ages of 40 and 50. Near the age of 60, gout tend to affect both sexes equally and is known to lean towards affecting women the most after the age of 80.
The gout causing excess levels of uric acid occur in the body for two main reasons: either the body is suffering from an overproduction of the acid or the body is failing to remove it quick enough to prevent crystallization. This second cause is the more common cause for most people who are suffering from gout. In rare cases this occurs due to a specific series of inborn errors of the metabolism but this genetic order only amounts to a very small percentage of the people who find themselves with gout.
Identification and Treatment
Due to the visual cue of gout, acute joint inflammation, appearing similar to that of standard joint infection and forms of arthritis, being able to properly diagnose gout requires the attending physician to take fluid directly from the affected joint for examination via microscope to check the fluid for uric acid crystal build up.
If the uric crystals are identified and a diagnosis of gout is made, treatment is readily available to combat acute attacks as well as relieve the associated inflammation and pain that comes with having gout. If caught and treated early enough, this treatment will also help to prevent both future cases of gout flare ups and prevent the creation of kidney stones, tophi, and renal disease.
The typical methods of treating gout are centered around anti-inflammatory medicines, pain relief, and future urate control. Treatment is normally relative simple for the patient as gout is one of the easiest forms of arthritis to treat and prevent.