Most people who have suffered a gout attack pretty much know the signs of a flare-up. The worst part about a gout flare up is that there is not much you can do to stop it. Although there are no cures for the condition, there are some home treatments that can help in managing the symptoms of gout attacks. Gout, or gouty arthritis, has been reported as early as the fifth century B.C. This disease was dubbed as the “disease of kings” owing to its association with consumption of alcohol and rich food.
A gout attack can occur with several warning signs or may occur suddenly without a warning. Its four stages are asymptomatic hyperuricemia, acute gout, interval gout, and chronic tophaceous gout. The symptoms and treatment vary for each stage. The most common joint where gout inflammation is observed are the joints in the feet. The top 5 gout treatments are a combination of medication and home care remedies that provide relief from pain and swelling.
Causes of Gout Pain
Gout is mainly caused by the buildup of uric acid in the body. The uric acid gets deposited in the form of crystals in the joints and tissues on the body, causing pain and inflammation. Gout is a complex health condition that comprises many contributing factors. High levels of uric acid, which lead to gout, may be caused due to digestive disorders or alcoholism, or unchecked diet. Foods like shellfish, red meat, sweet juices, organ meat, and salty food may cause a rise in uric acid levels. Kidney or thyroid problems may also lead to uric acid build up in the body.
Those with a family history of gout are at a risk of developing gout. Alcoholism and medications are other causes of gout. The most commonly affected part is the big toe. Other joints such as knees, feet, ankles, and elbows are also affected by gout. A gout attack usually is at its peak for 12-24 hours after its onset. Recovery from the attack may take 1-2 weeks.
Top 5 Treatments for Gout
Pain and inflammation due to gout can be debilitating. The sharp pain during a gout flare-up can be compared to that experienced during the dislocation of a joint. The pain is followed by chills and shivers. The top 5 gout treatments vary with the type of gout pain, and they are as follows:
Pain Reduction Medicines
Medicines for reducing the excruciating pain during a gout attack are nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen or naproxen, or colchicines. Corticosteroids are prescribed for reducing the inflammation at the joints. These are one of the top 5 gout treatments that you can opt for.
Uric Acid Reduction
Since the pain is due to the buildup of uric acid, medicines are given to reduce the buildup of uric acid and its production. Allopurinol and probenecid are given for this purpose. Uric-acid-reducing medicines must be consumed with extreme caution as they may lead to complications like uric acid precipitation.
Changes in Diet
Since uric acid content may also be influenced by the food intake, doctors are most likely to recommend dietary restrictions to those suffering from gout. Avoiding the consumption of organ meats, red meats, seafood, and other high-purine foods help in preventing gout attacks. Alcohol and beer consumption also needs to be reduced to avoid trigger of gout flare up. This is the most effective among the top 5 gout treatments.
Application of a cold pack on the inflamed joints helps to reduce pain. Applying an ice pack for 20-30 minutes is known to provide relief from inflammation and pain. Adequate rest to the joint also helps in easing out the pain and enables faster recovery.
Those who are obese are prone to gout attacks that last longer. Weight reduction is recommended for people who suffer from gout flare-ups. Giving up alcohol and smoking also avoids frequent gout flare-ups.
The type and severity of symptoms determine the treatment plan for gout. Some may require 1-2 sessions, while others may require several follow up sessions.
Preventive measures for gout flare-ups include diet and lifestyle changes. Here are some preventive measures for gout:
- Limit consumption of high-purine food like shellfish, lamb, pork, and organ meat.
- Limit alcohol consumption and smoking
- Reduce the intake of fatty foods and dairy foods
- Increase fiber-rich foods
- Shed extra body weight
- Maintain an active lifestyle by exercising
- Increase water intake
Gout belongs to the group of arthritis categorized as “crystalline arthropathies.” Gout is one of the treatable types of arthritis. For some, the telltale signs of gout appear before a flare-up; for some, the flare-up happens without a warning. Top 5 gout treatments provide relief from pain and inflammation. Medication for gout pain should be taken as soon as the first symptom occurs. The top 5 gout treatments are different for different type of gout.