Gout develops when there are high levels of Uric Acid in your blood. Arthritis is only one symptom. When you have too much Uric Acid in your blood it can form crystals in many different areas of your body.
Uric Acid Crystals
These uric acid crystals may form in bones, joints, cartilage, and other tissues in your body. These may form lumps, called tophi, that you can feel under the skin.
Uric acid crystals may also form into kidney stones or damage the kidneys by forming in the tiny tubules within the kidney.
Causing Joint Damage
When high levels of uric acid crystallize in a joint it can lead to joint damage and arthritis.
Uric acid crystals are needle shaped with long sharp points and when thousands of them form within a joint they cause inflammation and severe pain.
What Causes Gout?
You may have elevated levels of uric acid in your blood due to your genetics and metabolism.
Some people will have high levels of uric acid because the produce too much. While others will have high levels because their kidneys filter out too little into their urine.
Urate crystals within the joint
cause joint pain and inflammation.
Image thanks to Ed Uthman, via Wikimedia Commons
Studies show a strong correlation between uric acid and the consumption of alcohol, seafood, meats, and fructose. Physical fitness, coffee, dairy products, and Vitamin C seem to decrease the risk of accumulating uric acid crystals.
Obesity, especially the accumulation of fat around your abdomen, high blood pressure, and other medical conditions have been shown to increase your chances of developing these symptoms.
Acute flare ups are usually treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid treatments, and pain medications.
Once you acute flare up has subsided your doctor may suggest some dietary changes and prescribe medications that can decrease the amount of uric acid your body makes or increase the amount that is removed by your kidneys.
These medications can generally be divided into three different categories. Medications that reduce pain with a strong anti-inflammatory effect. Preparations that decrease your body's production of uric acid. Treatments that increase your body's excretion of uric acid.
Strong Anti-Inflammatory Effect
of Uric Acid
of Uric Acid
All of these treatments can have serious side effects. It is important that they all be used under the direction of your doctor. Some people may not be able to use one or more of these treatments.
What You Should Do
Gout is a serious condition that must not be ignored. Besides causing severe pain they can cause joint damage that leads to permanent disability.
If you are having symptoms of these symptoms it is important that you see your doctor today.
He can do some simple tests to determine what is causing your symptoms and get you started on a treatment plan that will help you get back to living your life.