For any of you who have ever experienced gout, I feel for you, really! My husband, Francois suffers from it and I know all about it. Most of the time it appears in his foot, but he also gets gout in his knee, and from what I have seen, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone!
Gout is a form of arthritis and happens when you have high levels of uric acid in your blood. For most people, the uric acid is cleared by the kidneys, but in some, this builds up in the blood and forms crystals around the joints. You can also have high levels of uric acid and never experience gout, but one third of the unlucky ones suffer!
A gout attack usually hits a big toe, or a knee, and is triggered by eating red meat or fish, starving, obesity, alcohol or injury to the joints for example. Gout can last from 3-10 days, but it has been known to last weeks, and in extreme cases, months! Sometimes even the pressure of a sheet against the affected area is excruciatingly painful.
White blood cells, called neutrophils, surround the crystals in an attempt to digest them, and they cause the inflammation. The body’s attempt to get rid of these crystals is what actually causes all the pain.
Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs are taken immediately, but not by those who are taking blood thinners, or suffer from kidney or liver diseases.
Colchicine can be taken with blood thinners, although he rapid relief comes with a price…..diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting!
If neither of the above can be taken, steroids will work. This can either be injected directly into the joint where there is inflammation and pain, or taken orally.
If you are a sufferer, test yourself for high blood pressure and diabetes, and watch out for kidney problems. This is one medical condition that requires serious lifestyle changes, and in some cases preventative medication.