Gout is a terribly painful disease. Those who suffer or have suffered a gout attack know how the burning, swelling, and excruciating pain make us feel. It is one of the most unpleasant situations a person can find himself in. For those of you who don’t know about Gout, here’s everything that you should know in case you ever feel a gout attack coming on.
What is Gout?
The name might confuse you, but it is a form of inflammatory arthritis. It affects you when there is an excess buildup of uric acid in the blood. Although it is common, the pain that it causes is intense. It also causes swelling and joint stiffness. It can happen to multiple joints in the body like knees, ankles, elbows, wrists, and fingers, but it usually affects the big toe on either foot. The worst thing about a gout attack is that it can happen anytime. You could be sleeping, you could be in your office, and you would feel the oncoming attack. It usually starts with a burning, itching, or tingling sensation in the joint. If left unchecked, it takes an hour or two to flare up.
The main symptoms of Gout are pain, itching, and swelling. They start at a low intensity but could go up to become excruciating. Here are the signs of Gout that you should look out for:
1. Pain in Your Big Toe
Pain in the big toe is the most common symptom of Gout. As more and more uric acid starts accumulating in the big toe joints, it becomes more and more painful. The toe becomes sore and starts hurting. This results in the inability to walk. It might subside in a few hours or a few days, and all through it, you might even have to walk with a limp.
2. Tenderness, Swelling, and Redness
Other common symptoms of Gout that you should look out for are swelling, redness, and tenderness. This happens once the initial pain of the attack has passed away. You might feel all these things simultaneously or not. You could also feel these sensations on the surrounding area of the joint. For example, if you have Gout in the big toe, you might feel tenderness, redness, and swelling all over your foot and even in your leg.
3. Pain Attacks (Especially at Night)
People who suffer from Gout often experience sudden pain attacks. This usually happens in the joints of the toes and legs. These attacks are not restricted to the lower extremities. They can expand throughout the body and make it hard for you to walk, stand, or take care of even the most basic functions. Many people get these attacks at night, making it impossible for them to go back to sleep.
What Causes Gout?
The main reason for Gout: excess uric acid in the blood. The body produces uric acid when it is breaking down the purines. Purines are chemical compounds found in foods like meat, poultry, and fish. Typically, uric acid is dissolved in the blood and passes out through urine. But when it starts to build up, it forms tiny crystals in the shape of needles. That is what causes the pain and the inflammation in the joints.
You could suffer Gout if you have a family history. Also, if you consume excess amounts of alcohol, it could stop the uric acid from leaving your body. Also, cut down on foods that are high in purine. Also, if you are taking certain drugs, that could result in the accumulation of uric acid. These consist of diuretics and medications that contain salicylate. Another reason for Gout is obesity. The more body tissue turnover you have, the more uric acid will be produced.
How to Prevent Gout
1. Watch What You Eat
Obviously, the very first thing to do to prevent Gout is to watch what you are eating. You have to keep away from foods that are high in purines like meat, fatty foods, and seafood.
2. Decrease Intake of Alcohol and Other Sweet Drinks
Alcohol is not the only thing that causes Gout. You can also get it from drinks that are high in fructose. Cut back on alcohol, especially beer and other artificially sweetened drinks.
3. Maintain Your Weight
The heavier you are, the more susceptible you are to Gout. That is why you have to watch out for weight gain and prevent it. For this purpose, you have to start and maintain an exercise routine and monitor your diet. An active lifestyle can help you stay in shape and keep away from Gout as well as a host of other diseases.
Remedies For Gout
Here’s what you can do if you are suffering from Gout:
1. Drink More Water
One of the best ways to prevent and treat Gout is to drink lots of water. The more water you drink, the less uric acid levels will be in your body. If you don’t drink enough water, uric acid levels will rise, and so will the pain and swelling. Drinking water throughout the day can keep the uric acid levels normalized and help reduce the pain and other symptoms of Gout.
2. Apply a Cold Compress
If you feel a Gout attack, you should apply a cold compress directly to the affected area. This can ease the pain and inflammation. Even if you are not feeling pain, you should still use a cold compress for 20-30 minutes. Make sure that you do that several times a day. Just wet a dishcloth in cold water and apply it to the affected area. You can also use a cold pack.
3. Rest and Relax
One of the things that you should never do during a gout attack is to become stressed. Try to keep calm and rest as much as you can. Watch a movie, chat with a friend, or just curl up with your favourite book on your favourite sofa. The more relaxed you are, the better you can handle the pain. Do not go for a walk or stand for an extended period of time. This can increase the pain.
Several medicines can help you during a gout attack. You could use over-the-counter ibuprofen or naproxen. It is best that you only take medication that has been prescribed to you by a doctor for your Gout. Also, make sure that you take medicine in the recommended doses. Overdoing it or not taking enough can harm you. You might also have to take some medicine to lower the levels of uric acid in your bloodstream.
Topical Pain Creams
Doctors may prescribe you oral medicines for uric acid buildup, but topical creams are the usual choice for pain and swelling. They are applied directly to the affected area and bring relief more rapidly than oral painkillers. Instead of waiting for the pill to be digested and have its effect, you can use a topical cream to get relief instantly.
Another reason for using topical pain creams is that they may have less harmful drug interaction than oral painkillers. If you take multiple medications, adding another tablet or pill for Gout could become dangerous if it shows an adverse reaction to your already taking medication. A topical pain cream has potentially fewer side effects when used correctly.
Compounded Pain Creams for Gout
A compounding pharmacy knows the value of topical pain creams in various situations. More and more patients are coming in as they are highly effective in dealing with pain. Topical pain compounds offer personalized treatment and provide immediate relief from pain, swelling, inflammation, and more. They are tailored to a patient’s needs. Whatever dosage you need, the compounding pharmacist will make sure that you get it. They tend to have far fewer reactions as compared to oral painkillers. If you are allergic to some compound, you can just contact a compounding pharmacist. They will ensure that they exclude that compound while creating your medication. If you maintain a healthy lifestyle, watch your diet, and use a compounded pain cream or ointment for pain, you can easily manage your Gout and get instant relief.
Gout is a complex disease, but you can manage it easily if you exercise regularly, avoid alcohol, sweetened drinks, and foods high in purine. Also, you can opt for a compounded medication for the pain, and you can live your life normally and not be affected by Gout as others are. If you have any questions about Gout or pain management, just contact our compounding pharmacists, and they will gladly get back to you.