If you have gout, you will know it.
Shannon John, a chiropractor at the Foot Clinic in Toronto, for the Global Journal of Gout, is a form of inflammatory arthritis that is caused by hyperuricemia – high levels of uric acid in the blood.
"Chronic elevated levels of uric acid can lead to the formation of crystals that accumulate in the wrist, resulting in the wrist becoming red, hot, swollen and sick," she said.
"Hyperuricemia can develop if your body produces too much uric acid or is not secreted enough by the kidneys."
Asia Abibisi, a doctor of podiatry medicine and a chiropodist at the Ottawa Foot Clinic, adds that uric acid is a compound that appears in our bodies after eating certain foods. These may include red meat, seafood, and alcohol consumption.
"Like any concept of chemistry, if there is something in a certain amount of fluid, it becomes too concentrated," Abibsi said.
Gout is considered a "human disease" or affects only people who drink too much alcohol or consume too much meat. But it is also on the rise, experts say.
Dr. Debra Di-Torrington, who works in the rheumatology department of the Scarborough Health Network in Scarborough, ON, added that this was reflected in changes in demographic factors.
"These changes affect both modifying and unchangeable factors," she said.
"Examples of modified growth factors are obesity, alcohol consumption and diet. Examples of unchanging factors are increased longevity and age-related illnesses. "
What are the usual signs
Abibsi says gout "hurts like hell," and the joints, often at the foot or large toe, will swell for a few days.
"The wrist immune system doesn't want this uric acid [and] is attacking his own wrist to get rid of this unwanted guest, "she said.
Dewey-Thurington says another sign of gout may be low-grade fever.
"In more severe cases, gout can affect more than one joint."
John says the symptoms can last about a week and besides the toe, gout can also occur in the knee, corner, middle foot, wrist and elbow.
Risk factors for gout
The Mayo Clinic notes that there are several factors that increase uric acid levels in your body, including everything from diet to obesity to family history and even age and sex.
"Gout occurs more frequently in men, primarily because women tend to have lower uric acid levels," the site notes.
"After menopause, uric acid levels in women are approaching men. Men are also more likely to develop gout earlier – usually between the ages of 30 and 50 – while women generally develop signs and symptoms after menopause. “
In addition to diets rich in meat, fish and alcohol, Hun said fructose-sweetened drinks can also be a risk factor.
Gout treatment options
Dewey-Thurington says non-pharmacological options for the treatment of acute gout include wrist whips, while pharmacological treatments include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, colchicine and intra-articular corticosteroids.
"Long-term treatment requires a reduction in uric acid levels with pills. Allopurinol is the most commonly used pill, "she said.
John says he also often needs to see a foot specialist.
"The hiropodist can prescribe orthotic adjusted legs with firm extension to reduce mobility in the affected ankle or lower soles shoes. An orthopedic surgeon may also need to aspirate or drop the wrist to help relieve the pain. "
Abibsi says prevention is the best treatment – stay hydrated and healthy.
"Avoid excessive alcohol consumption," Day-Thurington continued. "Wine is safer than beer … avoid sugary drinks."
Daily gout management involves staying educated on the subject, John said. This can help reduce attacks by repeating the risk.
It's important to monitor your symptoms as well as keep an eye on your diet, Abibisi continues. Nutrition can also be helpful in creating eating plans.
– Global news