Gout is also known by other names, including gouty arthritis, acute gouty arthritis, acute gout, chronic gout, gout-chronic, podagra, tophi, tophaceous gout, hyperuricemia, gout – acute and gouty arthritis – acute. Regardless of the severity and longevity of your gout, it happens when uric acid crystals build within the joints. If you get the acute version, it will normally only affect one of your joints. If you get the chronic version instead, you may find that more than one of your joints is affected and you will get repeated episodes of inflammation and pain.
But what causes gout? Gout results from uric acid levels that are far too high within your body. Your body might have trouble discarding the acid. If there is too much within your body, which builds up within your bodily fluids around your joints, they will begin to form uric acid crystals, which will make your joint swell up and become very inflamed. However, just because you have these high levels does not guarantee that you have gout.
It is suspected that gout is hereditary, more often seen in men, women who have finished menopause and those who drink far too much alcohol. However, other people may get the higher than standard levels too, including people on water pills and hydrochlorothiazide. If you have leukemia, haemolytic anaemia, sickle cell anaemia, are obese or have kidney disease or diabetes, you may develop gout anyway.
Usually doctors run a number of tests and look for special signs to show that gout is present. These include analysing the synovial fluids for crystals, checking uric acid levels in the blood, doing x-rays of the joints, performing synovial biopsies and checking for uric acid levels in the urine. Treatment wise, doctors generally recommend anti-inflammatory drugs, including ibuprofen and naproxen at prescription levels for up to ten days, colchicines to reduce inflammation/swelling and pain, corticosteroids for pain which can take it away within forty-eight hours, allopurinol to reduce the uric acid in the blood, avoiding certain foods and alcohol in general, limiting meal sizes, avoiding foods containing high levels of fat, eating carbs and losing weight rapidly to avoid kidney stone production. Without treatment, though, gout can lead to chronic gouty arthritis, chronic kidney failure and kidney stones. Though it is not easy to prevent at all because the real causes are not known, avoiding heavy drinking of alcohol and enjoying a low-purine type diet may help.