It all starts with a bang! Usually in the wee hours of the morning, just before waking up, you will feel a severe, almost unbearable pain, (and sometimes it comes with fever). The worst part is that when you wake up beside your partner, you receive a sly smile instead of sympathy.
Gout is real! And we all should know how to handle it so that we minimize joint pain! If you were put in this situation once in your life, then you must read this.
Myths About Gout
There are a lot of myths about gout that people hold on to. It is an old disease, and there are many erroneous beliefs and misconceptions that you should take note of.
1. Gout is a rich man’s disease. It was considered to be a rich man’s disease because it was a by-product of overeating and excessive drinking. But as modern research has shown, the gout is not “directly” related to being wealthy but is directly related to what kind of foods and drinks contains high uric acids.
2. Gout is a man’s disease. There is a traditional view that has been statistically proven that gout is a man’s disease. Studies have shown that it occurs 7-9 times more often in men than in women. In the US, it was recorded that there are about 3.4 million American men are affected by joint pain because of gout annually. This makes gout the number 1 cause of inflammatory arthritis in men over 40 years old. Well, in fact, women are also affected by gout.
3. Gout is for older people. It was studied that most men who are in their 40s or so are more prone to gout attacks than those who are younger. But in recent studies, there are more men and women below 40 who are affected by gout. Gout is not just for older people. It can occur even before you turn 40.
The Culprit Explained
If you have high uric acid, you most probably will have gout or already have gout. Uric acid has practically no function in our body. It the usual scene, the body gets rid of uric acid by urine excretion. But in some cases, men have this metabolic glitch that allows blood uric acid to rise up to 90% because the body produces too many chemicals. Even medications and over the counter drugs can cause high uric acids like aspirin, niacin, and diuretics. Drinking, fasting, kidney disease, lead toxicity, extreme muscular exertion, and leukemia are some less frequent causes of high uric acid levels.
Now, will you get gout when you have high levels of uric acid? Not right away. In fact, uric acid levels are typically elevated for 20 to 30 years before you actually feel them in your joints, which is why gout symptoms only occur when you are already in your 40s. A gout attack happens when excess uric acid is deposited in a joint and forms urate crystals. These crystals irritate the joint lining. White blood cells do their job to lessen the crystals by gobbling them up, but they are not equal to the task.
The white blood cells are also damaged, releasing chemicals that cause inflammation, swelling, and pain. Indeed, having gout is very painful, so if you do have this, here are some treatments you need to do to combat the pain.
1. Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, or (NSAIDs).
Gout responds well to anti-inflammatory drug medicine. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ought to be started as promptly as attainable, and second, it ought to be used only as prescribed. It means that if you still feel an excruciating amount of pain even after NSAIDs, you cannot take a double dose. This will ruin your kidneys. You should consult your doctor immediately. That’s what you need to do.
2. Avoiding These Food Groups
Did you know that only 10% of the body’s uric acid is from a diet? But that 10% can actually make a difference. If because of the 10% you reach that threshold of pain, then you should do a lot of thinking. According to studies from Harvard Health Professionals, these are the food groups which are high in purine and should be avoided:
All meats, especially organ meats
Meat extracts and gravies
Seafood, especially sardines and anchovies
Yeast and yeast extracts
Beans, peas, and lentils
Spinach and asparagus
You have to keep on moving. Those who have “minor” gout attacks can still walk, move their joints, stand without pain because they can drive. Some people have gout attacks which are severe and can make them almost unable to rise from their beds. You have to keep your joints moving. This keeps them lubricated. If you have time, go for walks in the park, a jog, or even play your favorite sport so that you can keep those joints less “creaking.”
4. Watch Your Weight
Another study tells us that men who are not obese and lose at least 10 pounds of excess weight reduce gout attack risks by 39%. Although we already know that we should be watching our weight and keep it below obese levels, you should also take note that you become less prone to gout if you maintain your recommended weight.
Here’s an ideal weight chart to help you out: https://www.bannerhealth.com/staying-well/health-and-wellness/fitness-nutrition/ideal-weight
5. Cotton Compression Garments
Now, when you exercise or walk, your joints should be assisted and supported by a comfortable garment. You can either use knee-high socks, knee sleeves, and compression hoses. Or if you want all these things rolled into one, you can actually purchase cotton compression garments which are a bit more expensive than regular socks but are definitely more effective in giving your legs and joints proper support for your daily activity.
Cotton compression socks might just be your best bet for combating joint pain aside from your non-steroidal drugs.
Gout is an old disease that has plagued many. Fight them off now and not tomorrow before its too late.