What is Gout? – Symptoms and Prevention

What is gout? You would think more people would know the answer to this question, considering it's one of the most frequently recorded medical illnesses in history. Even the great Benjamin Franklin suffered from a chronic case of it himself.

But, to answer your question, gout is a condition that results from crystals of uric acid depositing in tissues of the body. These crystals can develop into hard lumps around the joints, commonly in the big toes, leading to inflammation and a form of arthritis.

Gout Symptoms

  • Rapid onset of pain in the affected joint
  • Warmth, swelling, reddish discoloration
  • Extreme tenderness

Gout is nine times more common in men, so score one for the ladies! But there are several things you can do to help steer clear of this painful condition.

Gout Causes and Prevention

  • Obesity or excessive weight gain
  • Moderate to high alcohol consumption
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular kidney function

Also, a recent study highlighted a surprising connection between gout and not only alcohol, but sugary fructose-filled drinks as well.

Aside from these more natural causes, certain drugs and prescription medications can also be to blame, including: thiazide diuretics, low-dose aspirin, niacin, cyclosporine, and tuberculosis medications (pyrazinamide and ethambutol). That's why it's always extremely important to inform your doctor of anything you're taking if you suffer from any of these symptoms, or at any other time for that matter.

Treatment of Gout

  • Avoid foods rich in purine, like: shellfish, liver, brains, kidneys, and sweetbreads
  • Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated
  • Lose weight
  • Drink less alcohol (particularly beer and liquor)

In the rare case that you can not correct the problem at its source, your doctor will probably prescribe pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication.

So, to really answer your question of , "What is gout?," Let's hope you never know more about it than you just learned right here!