What is Gout

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People often ask what is gout?Gout is a condition in which the body does not properly excrete uric acid.
Excess uric acid may be caused by the body producing too much uric acid, by under performing kidneys, or by eating too many foods that increase uric acid.
What is gout caused by? There are many risk factors or causes of gout, including: ·Heredity ·Being overweight ·Hypertension (high blood pressure) ·Hypothyroidism (low levels of thyroid hormones) ·Kidney disorders ·Recent injury to a joint ·Recent surgery ·Certain medications, such as insulin and some antibiotics ·Excessive alcohol consumption ·Excessive consumption of certain foods, including shellfish, red meat, organ meats (such as liver and kidneys), and dried peas.
These foods have high levels of purines, which are chemicals that are metabolized by the body into uric acid.
Ask your doctor about other potential causes of gout.
Prevention Learning more about what is gout and the causes of gout will help you protect yourself.
Gout is caused when uric acid crystals build up in your joints.
Gout can affect any of the joints, but most commonly affects the big toe.
Uric acid is a normal chemical produced when your body cells and certain foods in the body break down.
It is excreted by the kidneys.
If the kidneys are unable to excrete it for some reason, or if there is too much for the kidneys to excrete, it builds up in the body and can cause kidney stones and gout.
Now that you understand what is gout and the causes of gout, you can learn how to prevent it.
Drinking lots of water is your best defense.
This helps your kidneys function properly and helps to flush uric acid out of the body.
You should drink at least eight glasses of water each day.
Maintaining a healthy body weight, eating right, and getting enough exercise will help prevent gout.
It will also lower your blood pressure if you tend to have high blood pressure.
Limiting your alcohol intake as well as your consumption of foods that increase the amount of uric acid in your body will also help prevent gout.
What is gout treatment? Gout often has symptoms similar to arthritis, so you'll need to see a doctor to determine what is gout and what is arthritis or some other joint condition before beginning treatment.
The first gout treatment to try is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, which can help with the inflammation and pain of gout.
These can be purchased over the counter, but are also available in prescription strength if needed.
In severe cases doctors may prescribe corticosteroid drugs such as prednisone.
These drugs can have some pretty serious side effects, such as thinning bones and slow healing time if you are injured, so they are used only if other medications do not work.
In some cases cortisone injections are given directly into the affected joint.
These can also have side effects.
The causes of gout in your case may affect your treatment.
For instance, if your gout is caused by hypothyroidism, gout treatment will consist of correcting the thyroid hormone imbalance.
If medication is causing your gout, your doctor may change the medication or the dosage.
Don't stop taking any medications or change the dosage on your own, though.
Again, you will need to see your doctor to determine what is gout caused by in your case and what is the best treatment for you.
While you are treating your gout medically, remember to follow the prevention tips discussed earlier.
This will help your treatment work faster and will also help prevent your gout from returning.
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