Gout is a chronic and progressive disorder characterized by excessive accumulation of uric acid crystals around the joints especially at the base of the big toe. Joints like fingers, wrist and elbows are also affected sometimes.
It causes a sudden attack of pain, stiffness, redness, warmth and swelling of the affected joint, most commonly the big toe. Usually, men are more affected than women.
It is caused by increased level of uric acids in the blood. Normally, our body throws the uric acid out of the body through urine but in some conditions uric acid is not thrown out completely as in following cases.
- High productions of uric acid in the body.
- Kidneys do not throw away required amount of uric acid out of the body.
- A person takes a diet which is rich in fats and a chemical called as purines which causes increased production of uric acid in the blood. E.g. excessive consumption of non-vegetarian foods such as liver, meat and fish and high amount of pulses.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol.
- Rapid and sudden weight loss.
- If you are taking certain drugs like diuretics, aspirin etc.
- Most common symptoms are swelling, warmth, redness and pain in the big toe mostly at night. The pain is sudden and acute in nature. The patient can wake up from the sleep screaming with pain. The pain really drives the patient crazy and he is forced to contact his family physician in the middle of the night.
- The other joints which are commonly affected by this disease are wrists, fingers, and elbows.
- The pain can continue for a few hours to many days.
- Patient may develop fever sometimes.
The treating doctor may advise the patient to undergo blood test to measure the levels of uric acid in the blood.
Sometimes patient is advised to test for synovial fluid examination. This includes collecting the fluid from the affected joint by inserting a needle and examining the fluid under microscope to see whether uric acid crystals are present in the fluid.
- Treatment of acute pain, swelling and inflammation of the affected joint: This can be done by giving Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs by an expert of conventional medicine. Sometimes, patient may require steroids given either orally or in the form of injections.
- Prevention of further attacks: This includes changes in diet, reduction in the consumption of alcohol, staying well hydrated to promote excretion of uric acid crystals from the body and regular consumption of medicines that help in lowering the level of uric acid in the blood.
Patients are also advised to make necessary changes in the diet as follows.
- Avoid taking Purine-rich food such as shellfish, asparagus, mushrooms, peanuts, radish, red meat, organ meat, liver and goose and duck meat.
- Limit the intake of tea and coffee as it increases the caffeine level in the body.
- To promote the excretion of uric acid take plenty of water orally. This also helps in prevention of development of kidney stones.
- Avoid alcohol consumption.
- A diet high in carbohydrate and low in protein is ideal for the patients of gout.
Role of homeopathy:Homeopathic medicines like Colchicum, Arnica, Urtica Urens, and Lycopodium etc. give very good results when given after a detailed case study. Homeopathic medicines help in preventing the frequent relapse of gout in an individual.
In an acute phase, when the patient suffers from severe pain and inflammation, conventional medicines should be given to the patient under an expert guidance. This should be followed by giving homeopathic medicines to the patients by an experienced homeopath. This approach will give a lot of relief to the patient in a long run.