Gout! Why Have You Forsaken Me!?!
Well, I had another gout flare up this week. You guys…I am trying to do all the right things!!! I swear! Newsflash, gout and it is painful as hell. Gout can be characterized by sudden, intense attacks of pain, redness and tenderness in joints. The most common location is at the joint at the base of the big toe, but I usually get there and in the lateral malleolus (or ankle bone) as well. It swells up so bad I can’t fit my foot in my shoe and can hardly put weight on it or walk on it. This old school rendition is exactly what it feels like.
This week, the gout hit my right big toe. Gout is a complex form of arthritis and it can affect almost anyone. Men are the more likely sex to get gout, but women can become increasingly vulnerable to gout after menopause.
Gout occurs when urate crystals gather in your joints (as pictured here), causing the severe pain and inflammation of a gout attack. Urate crystals formulate when you have elevated levels of uric acid throughout your blood.
Usually uric acid will dissolve in your blood pass through your kidneys into your urine where it is excreted But sometimes your body either produces too much uric acid or your kidneys excrete too little uric acid. When this happens, uric acid can build up, forming sharp, needle-like urate crystals in a joint or surrounding tissue that cause pain, inflammation and swelling.
Your body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines — substances that are found naturally in your body, as well as in certain foods, such as steak, organ meats and seafood. Other foods also promote higher levels of uric acid, such as alcoholic beverages, especially beer, and drinks sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose).
An attack of gout can happen suddenly and make it feel like your joint is on fire. The affected joint is hot, swollen and so tender that even the weight of the bed sheet touching it may seem unbearable.
Fortunately, gout is treatable, and there are ways to reduce the risk that gout will recur.
ONE THING I LEARNED TODAY:
Apparently coffee, Vitamin C, and cherries are all natural remedies to help avoid gout. Avoiding red meat, organ meats, and some seafoods can help as well. But at the end of the day, diet and exercise are good tools for avoiding gout. If you feel a burning in your joints, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about it. I actually had to cave in and use my colchicine medications this week. The struggle continues!