Gout is an inflammatory disease that affects the joints. When high quantities of uric acid, a waste product, build up in the blood, it can cause kidney failure. Swelling and joint discomfort develop as a result of this. Gout has a number of side effects, including joint damage, renal damage, and bone loss.
Excess uric acid causes needle-shaped crystals to develop around joints, causing discomfort.
Gout symptoms can appear in one joint at a time, and the condition frequently begins in the big toe. Individuals may develop symptoms in multiple joints across the body if they do not receive correct therapy.
Around the joints, gout can produce the following symptoms:
- pain, which may feel excruciating if anything touches the joint
- difficulty moving
Gout symptoms might come and go. People with the condition may suffer a flare-up of symptoms that last 1–2 weeks before disappearing.
If left untreated
Gout can not cause mortality directly, but it can lead to life-threatening complications if not treated properly.
Gout can raise the risk of cardiovascular disorders such as heart failure, heart attack, and stroke, according to the Arthritis Foundation. A accumulation of uric acid crystals, which can be caused by a variety of reasons, can damage blood vessels.
Gout raises the incidence of type 2 diabetes in both men and women, with a 71 percent rise in females and a 22 percent increase in males. It’s possible that this is linked to high levels of inflammation. Gout people are more likely to be overweight, have high blood pressure, and have high cholesterol.
Gout has been linked to a 78 percent increased incidence of moderate renal disease. Renal disease can lead to kidney failure if not treated.
Gout may also increase the risk of sleep apnea, a condition that impairs breathing while sleeping. Sleep apnea can put you at risk for a variety of significant health issues, including:
Chronic gout can induce joint swelling and chronic inflammation, both of which can lead to joint damage. Stiffness and deformities are also possible side people.
To avoid joint injury, it’s important to keep gout flare-ups under control. To immediately manage gouty edema, the Arthritis Foundation suggests the following steps:
- Make an appointment with a doctor to get the condition evaluated.
- Elevate the joint and apply ice to it.
- Drink lots of water and stay away from alcohol and sugary drinks.
- Stress can exacerbate gout flare-ups, so try to control or decrease it.
- Request assistance with any chores that may place additional strain on the joints.
Additionally, several drugs can help reduce inflammation and minimize the duration of a gout flare, such as:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
People with significant joint injury may require surgery to repair or replace severely damaged joints.
Fractures of the bones
Gout has been linked to an increased risk of bone fractures by some researchers, while there is considerable debate about this.
In a 2016 study, researchers determined that people with a history of gout have a greater risk of bone fracture.
The researchers discovered that people with gout who used medicine to treat it, such as allopurinol and benzbromarone, had fewer bone fractures than those who didn’t.
Certain drugs known as bisphosphonates can assist people with gout and bone loss minimize or prevent additional bone loss. These are some of them:
- zoledronic acid
Tophi are urate crystal collections made up of uric acid accumulation that can form on joints and cartilage. These hardened crystals can induce lumps of various sizes to grow on various body parts, including:
- the ears
- fingers and hands
- feet and toes
Tophi is a symptom of chronic gout that can appear in people who suffer gout flare-ups often. Tophi are normally not painful, but they can cause joint injury, making it difficult to move the joints.
Without treatment, tophi can develop to problems. It can be painful and deadly if they have an infection or push on a nerve.
Tophi can be treated by lowering uric acid levels. Medication, such as allopurinol, which lowers uric acid levels in the body, may be used. A doctor may raise the dosage of uric-acid reducing drugs to prevent the uric acid from crystallizing in order to get rid of the tophi.
Tophi therapy can take a long time, and people may not observe a reduction in the size of their tophi until after several months of treatment. Tophi may need to be removed surgically in extreme situations.
Although eye parts are an uncommon gout consequence, uric acid crystals can cause damage to the eyelid, cornea, and iris. Tophi can also affect the upper eyelid and other parts of the eyes.
Gout may be treated by reducing uric acid levels and inflammation, which can assist with any gout-related ocular issues. Flare-ups must be treated as soon as important, and this typically entails the use of anti-inflammatory medicines such as NSAIDs or corticosteroids.
Lowering uric acid levels through dietary and lifestyle modifications, as well as pharmaceuticals, can assist.
People with gout are more likely to develop kidney stones. Urate crystals can develop in the urinary system as a result of high uric acid levels. Kidney stones can cause the following symptoms:
- severe pain in the back, groin, lower abdomen, or side below the ribs
- pain when urinating
- brown, red, or pink urine
Doctors may employ an alkalizing chemical and a medicine called allopurinol to dissolve urate stones in people who have gout.
The kidneys are responsible for removing waste products from the body, such as uric acid. When uric acid levels are high, the kidneys may struggle to handle the extra uric acid.
The accumulation of uric acid crystals in the kidneys can decrease renal function and lead to kidney disease or failure.
People with kidney disease may feel tired, weak, or have poor energy in the early stages. Individuals may encounter the following symptoms when their kidney disease progresses:
- swelling of the ankles
- a loss of appetite
Treatment can help reduce and slow damage to the kidneys. Treatments can include:
- taking medications to lower uric acid levels, such as allopurinol, febuxostat, probenecid
- reducing foods high in purine, such as organ meats and shellfish
- drinking plenty of water
- avoiding smoking and certain supplements, such as niacin (vitamin B-3)
- exercising regularly and maintaining a moderate weight
- controlling any other conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes
Gout problems can be reduced by taking the following steps:
- eating a nutritious, balanced diet
- maintaining a moderate weight
- controlling any additional conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes
- engaging in regular exercise
- taking medications to lower uric acid or accelerate its removal
- limiting or avoiding foods high in purine, alcohol, and sweet fruit drinks to reduce uric acid buildup
- drinking plenty of water
- getting regular kidney function and bone density tests to check for early signs of any problems
Gout management and treatment
Changes in diet and lifestyle, such as the ones listed above, can help control gout and lower the likelihood of flare-ups.
People with gout may require long-term care with modest, regular doses of medicine to decrease uric acid levels and assist avoid flare-ups. Colchicine may be used in conjunction with one or more of the following medications:
If uric acid levels are still high and the preceding drugs aren’t working at their highest suggested doses, an intravenous injection of pegloticase every two weeks may help lower uric acid levels quickly.
When should you see a doctor?
If gout flares up, people should see a doctor to explore the best treatment choices. Within 24 hours of a gout flare-up, anti-inflammatory treatments are most helpful.
If a person exhibits any of the people of gout problems, they should seek medical help. They will also require rapid medical treatment if they exhibit any indications of a cardiac event, such as a stroke or heart attack.
Although gout is not lethal in and of itself, it can cause serious consequences such as joint damage, cardiovascular difficulties, and renal disease if left untreated.
Controlling gout flare-ups and lowering uric acid levels using drugs, as well as dietary and lifestyle modifications, can help manage the disease and minimize the risk of complications.