If you are suffering from joint pains, you are not alone. Joint problems are extremely common. In fact, statistics reveal that there are 15 million people in the world who are experiencing joint problems. Whether the reason is overdoing a sports activity, or it is hereditary, there are several reasons your joints may be aching.
One of the factors that might be the reason for your joint aches is physical buildup. According to research, women are more likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis than men due to their hormones and body built. Men, on the other hand, may be more prone in suffering the joint disease called Gout.
What is a Gout?
It is a common type of arthritis that may cause severe pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. Gout usually affects the metatarsophalangeal joint located at the base of the big toe. This type of arthritis may be caused by too much uric acid in the body.
One of the top causes of excess uric acid is drinking too much alcohol beverages. If you produce too much uric acid or when the kidneys were not able to filter such substance, it may build up and cause tiny sharp crystals to form in and around joints. These crystals may eventually cause inflammation in the joints.
If left untreated, gout can be extremely painful. Aching joints caused by gout may be felt frequently during night or when the body is at rest. The condition mainly affects middle-aged men. However, women may also become vulnerable after their menopausal stage. Generally, gout is more common in men than women.
What are the Symptoms of Gout?
Although gout usually affects the joint located at the base of the big toe, it may still affect any joint, such as the ankles, knees, and fingers. When you feel pain in one or more joints, the affected joints feel hot and swollen, and these appear red and shiny, you may be experiencing gout.
Symptoms may develop rapidly over a few hours and last up to ten days if left untreated. It is necessary to see a doctor if this is the first time you have felt such symptoms, especially when you have a fever, and the joint pain keeps getting worse.
How to Treat Gout
The traditional treatment for gout is diet modification. As gout is caused by a high level of uric acid in the body, managing your diet may help lower your chances of experiencing joint pains. There are some foods that may help lower uric acid levels, while others increase it. Here are dietary changes you can adapt to avoid triggering an episode of gout:
- Reduce all kinds of alcohol consumption, especially beer. Consuming high amount of alcohol produces high uric acid in the body that may eventually lead to joint pains.
- Drink lots of water. This helps your kidney function well in filtering out excess uric acid in your body.
- Regularly take joint supplements for men that may help manage joint problems like gout.
- Avoid foods high in purine, as well as oily fishes like sardines, herring, and anchovies.
- Get rid of sugary sweets and refined carbohydrates like white bread. Replace these with complex carbohydrates, such as whole-grain breads, fruits, and vegetables.
For severe cases of gout, medication may be more advisable. One of the medicines used to treat gout are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that reduce the inflammation caused by this joint problem. Another type of medicine is Xanthine oxidase inhibitors that may be taken to lower down the levels of uric acid.
Consulting with a professional is a must before taking any medications for gout. Symptoms of gout may also be signs of more serious diseases or joint infections; it is best to visit your doctor first.