A suddenly painful joint that feels hot – this is what people experience during a gout attack. The cause is too much uric acid in the blood, which leads to an inflammatory reaction in the joints. Learn how to keep uric acid in balance and prevent gout attacks.
What is gout and what are the symptoms of a gout attack??
Alarm in the joints: Gout is a metabolic disease that mainly affects the joints. If there is too much uric acid in the body, tiny uric acid crystals form. These are deposited especially in the joints. Can trigger episodes of inflammation here. Such an Gout attack usually develops within a few hours, often overnight: The joints suddenly become very swollen and painful. They are overheated, reddened and very sensitive to prere – Other typical signs of gout. Mostly first gout attack affects only one small joint, often the joint of the big toe. In others, however, the inflammation includes other joints, such as the knees, elbows, wrists, fingers, metatarsals and ankles.
Most people with gout experience such attacks of gout again and again. Sometimes months or even years pass before another attack is imminent. In other humans they occur more frequently. Such an acute gout attack often subsides on its own when the uric acid level in the blood returns to normal. In chronic gout, when the disease persists for several years, the joints are usually permanently slightly inflamed and joint damage may occur. In addition, uric acid crystals can collect over time in so-called gout nodules, which are found especially under the skin or near the wrists and ankles. However, this has become very rare, as gout can be treated well nowadays.
How gout develops?
Gout occurs when the uric acid level rises too high. Uric acid is a substance that the body produces when it breaks down certain organic compounds called purines. Purines occur naturally in the body, but are also absorbed through the diet. The uric acid that is produced when the purines are broken down is then excreted by the kidneys. If this does not happen to a sufficient degree, the uric acid level in the blood rises. Tiny uric acid crystals accumulate in various places in the body, especially in the joints. Here they can a gout attackl trigger.
Doctors distinguish between different forms depending on the cause:
– The Primary hyperuricemia is hereditary. In most cases, this means that the uric acid is not being excreted in sufficient quantities by the kidneys. This is the main cause of gout attacks. Much less frequently, there is a congenital overproduction of uric acid. – In the Secondary hyperuricemia Diseases, for example some cancers, kidney diseases or severely derailed diabetes mellitus, cause uric acid levels to rise. But also certain medications, such as some cancer drugs or dehydrating drugs, can be the trigger.
But not all people with elevated uric acid levels also develop gout – only about one-third also get this joint inflammation. The exact cause is still unclear.
What can I do if I have an attack of gout?? An attack of gout often comes very suddenly. Comes as a shock to many affected at first. You wake up in the morning with joint pain. Ask yourself: What can I do now? The good news is that a gout attack usually goes away on its own within one to two weeks. The swelling goes down, and the joint can recover. To reduce the suffering during this time, medications are used for the medical treatment of gout in acute cases to relieve pain and inhibit inflammation in the joints:
– Painkillers from the group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with active ingredients such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen or etoricoxib reduce pain and can curb inflammation. These drugs are available in low doses without prescription in pharmacies. – Medications that contain glucocorticoids, too Cortisone preparations are also effective against pain and inflammation of the joints. However, they must be prescribed by a doctor. – The Gout medication Colchicine is made from the plant meadow saffron. This prescription drug also relieves the inflammation and thus the symptoms of gout, but its effect is somewhat slower than other drugs. It is important to start gout treatment with colchicine within the first 36 hours after the onset of symptoms of a gout attack. However, because of its slow action and possible side effects, colchicine is no longer used as often as it used to be.
Even though you can get some medications over-the-counter at the pharmacy, it is advisable to see a doctor at least at the first gout attack. The doctor can then discuss with you further treatment steps that can prevent gout attacks in the future.
Doctors and hospitals for gout
What home remedies help with gout?
In the case of gout, preparations of herbal medicine can possibly support the treatment. Wait and see and drinking tea is good advice with gout. Sufficient drinking helps the body to excrete uric acid. Some tea blends contain medicinal plants that are supposed to have a diuretic and anti-inflammatory effect, for example chamomile, yarrow, licorice, goldenrod, nettle and angelica. But whether water, herbal or fruit tea: the decisive factor is sufficient drinking!
Wraps and poultices are also popular home remedies for gout. In an acute gout attack, a cold compress around the affected area does good. The cold can relieve the pain. Allow the inflammation to subside. A quark poultice can be used for this purpose, but cool cloths or a cooling pad can also provide relief.
Can you prevent an attack of gout with medication?
After the attack is before the attack – this adage is very often true with gout. Most people experience another attack of gout after one, since the cause – usually hereditary impaired uric acid excretion – cannot be remedied. Despite this preload there are ways to prevent and avoid a recurrence of gout attacks, that the uric acid level rises too much. First and foremost is often a change in diet, with less consumption of purine-rich foods such as meat, fish or beer. However, since the majority of uric acid is produced in the body itself, the possible influence of diet is limited.
Particularly in the case of frequent or very stressful gout attacks, medications can therefore also be used. For example, the doctor may prescribe uric acid-lowering drugs with the active ingredient allopurinol. This substance influences the breakdown of purines, so that only a precursor of uric acid is formed, which can be excreted by the kidneys. Drugs with active ingredients such as benzbromarone increase the excretion of uric acid via the kidneys.