Gout: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Gout is a condition that was first identified as early as 2640 BC by the ancient Egyptians. In the 5th Century BC, Hippocrates, the legendary Greek physician, referred to gout as "unwalkable disease," noting links between the condition and certain lifestyle habits.1

Despite its long history, gout remains a major public health concern, with an increasing number of people suffering from what can be an extremely painful condition. Gout has also been related to an increased incidence of cardiovascular and metabolic disease.11

This complex form of arthritis is characterized by the onset of sudden and severe pains. A veteran visiting a VA Hospital in Birmingham, AL, said, "I've been shot, beat up, stabbed and thrown out of a helicopter, but none of that compared to the gout."1

Fortunately, gout is treatable and there are preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing the painful condition.2

Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis - a condition affecting the joints and musculoskeletal system. It is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in men, and although it is more likely to affect men, women become more susceptible to it after the menopause.

Gout commonly affects the base of the big toe. When affecting this area, the condition can also be referred to as podagra.

The condition is characterized by sudden and severe pains, redness and tenderness in the joints, most commonly in the base of the big toe. When affecting the big toe, gout can also be referred to as podagra.

These symptoms occur when uric acid, a product of ordinary metabolic processes, is deposited in the form of needle-like crystals in tissues and fluids within the body. Chalky deposits of uric acid known as tophi can also form as lumps under the skin surrounding the joints. Uric acid crystals can also collect in the kidneys, sometimes resulting in kidney stones.

At its most disabling, gout can cause permanent damage to joints and the kidneys. However, it normally takes a long period, around 10 years, without any proper treatment for the disease to reach this advanced stage, however.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that 2.6 million Americans were affected by gout in 2005 and that this figure is projected to rise to 3.6 million by 2025

source: : http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/

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