Gout is by no means a life threatening condition but it can be very uncomfortable as well as extremely painful if it is severe enough. There are several different types of drugs that can help with this condition, but there are also several natural forms of treatments that include vitamins, certain types of juices, as well as diet modifications. There are also several misconceptions and the two most common are that that it will only affect your toes or feet and it is exclusive to men.
What is it?
Gout is not a single condition or a disorder, but instead is a very complex form of arthritis that has some very distinctive characteristics. The best known of these characteristics is the suddenness as well as the severity it which it strikes and will cause pain as well as redness in your joints. It can also cause severe tenderness and it will usually affect your feet first, and the first form of attack is almost always the joint of your foot that is located at base of your big toe.
However, this is where the first misconception about this condition comes into play, as it can and often does affect a lot more than just your big toe. It can also affect your ankles as well as your feet, but it can also affect your hands and your wrists. Gout is also different than most disorders or conditions where the pain will intensify as more time passes. Instead, the most painful time frame for the condition is usually within the first 12 to 24 hours. After this initial time frame, the pain seems to start to calm down.
But even as it starts to calm down, the discomfort is anything but finished, as you can often have a lingering discomfort that can last for a few days, or in some cases, a few weeks. There also seems to be another very common occurrence with this condition; the more you are attacked the longer this lingering discomfort seems to last. Inflammation and redness is often associated with this discomfort, as the affected joints will remain swollen, red, and very tender.
The second common misconception is that it only affects men. The facts are that it can affect anyone at any time, and women that have passed menopause face the same degree of risk as men.
Causes and Risk Factors:
Unlike a lot of disorders or conditions that have several potential or unknown causes, gout has one very simple cause; too much uric acid in your body. If you can defeat and eliminate most of this uric acid, it is very easy to control as well as prevent. This condition develops when urate crystals begin to accumulate around your joints, and once they reach a certain level the pain and redness will hit you so severely and fast that it will virtually stop you dead in your tracks. Urate crystals form as the result of high levels of uric acid in your blood as your body produces it to breakdown what are referred to as purines.
These are substances that are found naturally in your body but are also found in certain foods such as organ meats, some fish such as herring, as well as some vegetables. Under normal circumstances, uric acid is very easily dissolved in your blood and will pass smoothly though your kidneys and out of your body via your urine. However, there are some occasions where two things can happen; your body produces too much uric acid or your kidneys do not excrete enough of it. If this does occur, uric acid starts to build up and form very sinister attack weapons.
Crystals will form in the shape of very sharp almost needle-like crystals that attack your joints as well as the surrounding tissues with pin-point accuracy. There are several risk factors that may trigger this condition, and by far and away the most dangerous is too much alcohol, especially beer. However, there are also some medications that can trigger it such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol medications. Low dose aspirin is also believed to be a risk factor, as is age and a family history. Most men as well as women suffer gout between the ages of 40 and 50.
Gout has some very effective medical treatments such as non-steroidal inflammatory drugs, colchicine if you can’t take these drugs, as well as corticosteroids. Xanthine oxidase inhibitors which blocks uric acid production may also be used, as well as medications that will remove uric acid. However, all of these drugs have one thing in common; some very serious potential side effects.
But the good news is that there are also some very natural forms of treatments that are just as effective that have virtually no side effects. The first of these is water, as it is recommended to drink between 8 to 16 cups of fluids every day if you suffer from this condition and at least half of this liquid should be in the form of water. The next natural treatment is a vitamin from the B-class of vitamins, folic acid. This water soluble vitamin in large doses will inhibit xanthine oxidase, which is the enzyme in your body that produces uric acid and when combined with enough liquids, it is extremely effective.
These large dosages should be discussed and monitored by your doctor, as the recommend dosages are between 10,000 and 40,000 micrograms of folic acid per day. However, there is always the potential that large dosages of any of the B-class of vitamins can cause shortages of the other B vitamins, so you should also take a multi-vitamin in conjunction. Vitamin E is also considered to be very effective for combating gout as its major role in your body is to reduce inflammation.
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There are some circles that will recommend vitamin C, however, any excessive amounts of either vitamin C or niacin increase uric acid levels and should be avoided.
Cherries are a well-known natural treatment for this condition but adding other fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, purple grapes, as well as raspberries can also help to reduce uric acid levels in your body. One teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar in a glass of water twice a day will also help to trigger alkaline in your body, which is a natural defense against uric acid. The goal is to get at between 8 and 16 cups of fluids every day and although cherries are very effective, drinking 100 percent cherry juice gives you another very effective tool.
Pure cherry juice is very rich in anthocyanin that does two things; reduces uric acid as well as inflammation. However, there is one more fluid that when combined with these vitamins and natural treatments is very effective; coffee. Both regular as well as decaffeinated coffee also seems to lower uric acids in your body and it will help to balance the variety of fluids.
Gout is extremely painful and can attack you so fast you will wonder what actually hit you. There are conventional medical treatments but why risk the potential side effects when you can treat it naturally without these risks.