What is Gout?
Gout is a metabolic disorder caused by too much uric acid in the blood. This can be caused by numerous situations such as the kidneys not cleaning out the buildup of uric acid properly by means of urine or the heavy consumption of protein which breaks down into uric acid.
The sources of protein which are the most troublesome are shellfish, organ and red meat as well as legumes (beans). Also, the consumption of alcohol forces the kidneys to excrete less uric acid as well. When blood travels further in the body, it cools down. The warm blood that was holding the uric acid can no longer do so. When this occurs, it travels to the joints as a solid in the form of a crystal. The body responds through its immune system causing an acute gout attack. When it occurs in the foot, it is generally the great toe joint of the foot although it can occur in other joints of the foot and ankle.
Ways to Diagnose Gout
The most accurate way to diagnose gout is to extract fluid out of the joint however it is extremely painful especially in the in the great toe due to the limited fluid in the area. When the fluid is examined under a microscope, the pathologist looks for any uric acid crystals which are gout. A blood test can be taken as well however it can be confusing. If the test is normal, you can still have gout. If the serum uric acid is high you have gout.
For long term treatment, oral medications are recommended to prevent the buildup in the blood. Oral steroids (anti-inflammatory) can be quite helpful as well as icing the joint. Resting the joint will relieve symptoms as well. However, we do caution to not take these when you are experiencing acute stages of gout because they can make it worse.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of gout, it is important to seek treatment and a specialist right away.
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