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Gout- Swollen joints could mean you eat too much meat

By Vision Reporter

Added 26th April 2010 03:00 AM

HAVE you ever experienced joint pain with hot, red swellings? Like any other medical complication, such red swellings should not be ignored since they could signify the development of gout.

HAVE you ever experienced joint pain with hot, red swellings? Like any other medical complication, such red swellings should not be ignored since they could signify the development of gout.

By Peace Nyakisa

HAVE you ever experienced joint pain with hot, red swellings? Like any other medical complication, such red swellings should not be ignored since they could signify the development of gout.

Causes of gout
Gout is an inflammatory disease caused by too much uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia).

The uric acid is generated as the body’s tissues are broken down during normal cell turnover. Some people with gout generate too much uric acid (10%).

Other patients with gout do not effectively eliminate their uric acid into the urine (90%). Genetics, gender and nutrition (alcoholism, obesity) play key roles in the development of gout.

Dr. Martin Waraba of Lubangakene Clinic in Nakawa, Kampala, says: “The uric acid levels increase at puberty in men and at menopause in women. Therefore, men develop gout at an earlier age than women.”

Causes of excessive uric
Underperforming kidneys
Increase in the production of uric acid by the body.
Increase in the consumption of foods like shellfish, organic meat, creamy sauces, and dried peas.

Attacks of gouty arthritis can be precipitated when there is a sudden change in uric acid levels, which may be caused by overindulgence in alcohol and red meats, trauma, starvation and dehydration, medications like aspirins and nicotinic acid.

Symptoms of gout
Sudden onset of hot, red and swollen joints.
The most common joint involved is at the base of the big toe but almost any joint can be affected.

In some people, the pain is so intense that even a bedsheet on the toe can cause severe pain. Acute gout arthritis at the base of the big toe is referred to as podagra.

Even without treatment, the first attacks stop spontaneously after one to two weeks.

While the pain and swelling completely go away, gouty arthritis almost always returns in the same joint or in another joint.

With time, attacks of gout arthritis can occur more frequently and may last longer. While the first attacks usually involve only one or two joints, multiple joints can be involved simultaneously over time.

Kidney stones are more frequent in patients with gout.
Uric acid crystals can form outside joints. Collection of these crystals, known as tophi, can be found in the ear lobe, elbow and Achilles’ tendon (back off the ankle).

It causes discomfort which lasts for some hours in the night and then eases in the next few days. Typically, these tophi are not painful but can be a valuable clue for the diagnosis as the crystals that form them can be removed with a small needle for microscopic examination.

“Gout may occur alone or with other medical conditions like obesity and diabetes. It can be treated and cured if one seeks medical attention in time,” explains Dr. Nelcon Terwane of Mukono Health Centre.

It is advisable for anyone with a sudden onset of a hot, red swollen joint to seek medical care with a primary care physician or a rheumatologist. Taking medication as prescribed will help reduce the risk of occurrence.

Treatment
Basically, there are two categories of treatment administered to gout patients; reliever medicines which include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs relieve the pain and preventer medicines taken regularly for long term prevention. The preventer medicine lowers the uric acid levels in the body.

Prevention
Eating low cholesterol and low-fat diet foods.
Slowly lose weight. This lowers uric acid levels.

Restrict your alcohol consumption, especially beer.
Increase your intake of dairy products, such as non-fat milk and yogurt because they can lower the frequency of gout attacks.

Drink eight glasses (2 litres) of water a day to stay hydrated.
Foods high in potassium such as bananas, avocado and oranges, white meat such as pork, chicken and fish as well as black cherry juice, blueberries, and lemon juice reduce the risk for gout.

Gout- Swollen joints could mean you eat too much meat

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