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Gout is characterised by an excess of uric acid crystals in the joints. You cannot see or feel these crystals, but a doctor can draw some fluid from the joints with a needle and look at it under a microscope. If uric acid crystals are present, you have gout.

What is the difference between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and gout?

The biggest difference between the two is the cause. In rheumatoid arthritis, it is not the uric acid crystals that cause the pain.

RA is a chronic inflammation in several joints (often symmetrical, e.g. both feet, both hands, both arms), whereas gout often affects only one (sometimes several) joint(s).

Gout and rheumatoid arthritis are also treated very differently. The two diseases are therefore not at all comparable.

The symptoms of gout

The accumulation of uric acid crystals triggers an inflammatory reaction, often accompanied by acute and painful joint inflammation: a gout attack. This usually occurs at night. The affected joint becomes swollen and painful. The skin is red and hot, and you may have a fever. Such an attack may last for a short time, less than a day, but may also last for more than a week. After this acute attack, you may feel a stabbing pain for a long time afterwards, in contrast to osteoarthritis, where the pain comes back every day, for example when you get up in the morning. These pains may intensify or subside at certain times, but osteoarthritis does not cause acute ‘attacks’ of pain like gout.
I think I have osteoarthritis, I would like to know more

Gouty tophi and kidney stones

When uric acid crystals are deposited under the skin and in the subcutaneous tissues, they can form encased crystals: uratic concretions, also called “tophus”. They are often found on the toes, fingers, earlobes and elbows.
When these crystals are deposited in the kidneys, they form kidney stones, which cause a lot of pain in the lumbar area, the groin and the back.

What are the consequences for daily life?

Because a gout attack can be extremely painful, it certainly has an impact on daily life. The pain prevents you from sleeping well and you may even need help getting dressed. It becomes impossible to do certain tasks and exercise and movement becomes more difficult.

Development of gout

Factors that may play a role in the development of gout include:

  • High uric acid levels in the blood: when uric acid can no longer be dissolved completely in the blood and is deposited as crystals. The risk of crystal formation is higher in people who are overweight or have kidney failure, as well as those who drink too much alcohol or take urinary drugs.
  • Consumption of organ meats, red meat, certain shellfish, large quantities of soft drinks or fruit juices can contribute to the formation of uric acid crystals.
  • Heredity also plays a role, for example in people with high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.

Men versus women

Acute gout attacks are about eight times more common in men than in women. In general, gout occurs later in life in women, because female hormones protect them. After the menopause this is no longer the case and more women will develop gout. In both men and women, the prevalence increases with age.

My knee hurts, does it have gout?

Pain in the knee can have many causes. Osteoarthritis or the onset of osteoarthritis of the knee is quite common, whereas gout is less common. What are the symptoms of gout in the knee?

Symptoms of gout in the knee:

  • Unbearable tenderness and pain in the knee
  • Difficulty in standing and walking, the knee is not flexible
  • The knee is hot, swollen (indicates inflammation) and the skin is often red and shiny
  • Itching and scaling around the knee
  • Rapid deterioration of symptoms, often at night
  • Pain decreases in the days after it was worst
  • Gorączka
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bumps under the skin near the knee (urea concretions or gouty tophus) that are often not painful but are uncomfortable and unattractive. Not everyone with gout has these tophi.

My foot hurts, does it have gout?

To find out if you have gout in your foot, you can go through the above list of symptoms for the knee, applying it to the foot. The same applies to gout in the big toe or other joint. If you have gout in the foot or big toe, just the pressure of the sheet in the bed could be unbearable, as the foot or toe is so sensitive.

Evolution of gout

In 75% of cases, the first attack of gout occurs in the big toe. Some people only rarely suffer a gout attack afterwards. This is a mild form of gout, which can disappear when the patient is careful about what he eats, stops drinking alcohol and (if necessary) loses the few extra kilos.

When there are also tophi, and for example heart or kidney failure, it is difficult to dose the medication. The tophus can open up, revealing a white substance. These wounds sometimes heal only slowly or lead to a bacterial infection.

Natural treatments to relieve a gout attack

Cold

Applying an ice pack to the painful joint (not forgetting to protect the skin with a clean cloth) can help reduce the symptoms of a gout attack – and especially the pain. It also works with a bag of frozen peas (they fit the joint well) or a basin of cold water.

Good hydration

Drinking plenty of fluids (water!) during a gout attack helps to speed up the work of the kidneys and thus the elimination of uric acid.

Olejki eteryczne

Mix 15 drops of Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil, 15 drops of Lavandin Super essential oil, 10 drops of Noble Laurel essential oil and 100 g of Dead Sea salt. Pour all of this into a basin of warm water and mix well. Bathe the painful joint for 20 minutes. Caution: this remedy is prohibited during pregnancy, but also in case of asthma or epilepsy.

A homeopathic remedy

As soon as the first signs of a gout attack appear, in addition to the medical treatment, take a dose of Apis 5 CH every hour, alternating with a dose (5 granules) of Colchicum 9 CH to reduce the inflammation.

Curcuma and Boswellia

There are strong evidences that Turmeric and Boswellia are likely to be beneficial for the joint inflammation associated with gout. They work very quickly to relieve pain.

Fyron G1 + G2 is a very effective product that has proven to have many positive results.

You can buy it here: Curcuma and Boswellia.

Gemmotherapy

In gemmotherapy, the young twigs of lemon trees (Citrus Limonum) are known to stimulate the elimination of uric acid. Take 5 to 10 drops 3 times a day of glycerine macerate – caution: medical advice is essential in case of anticoagulant treatment.

Herbata ziołowa

In the event of a gout attack, make a birch tea by infusing 2 to 3 grams of birch leaves (preferably “old” brown leaves) in a cup of hot water for about ten minutes. One to four cups a day are consumed. Birch sap is also interesting for preventing this rheumatism as it activates the work of the kidneys.

More natural treatments here: Podagra Domowe sposoby na podagrę.

Wniosek

After an attack of gout, it is essential to set up a basic treatment aiming at regulating the rate of uric acid in blood and preventing the formation of crystals. If this treatment is not put in place, gout attacks will follow one another and irreversible damage to the joint concerned may be observed.