· Overview of Gout
Gout is a type of arthritis caused by a buildup in the body of uric acid, which is found in meats and other foods and also produced by the body. When this production is out of balance or there is an adequate elimination of uric acid, gout occurs.
When the level of uric acid rises to unhealthy levels in the body, it crystallizes in the joint cartilage and synovial tissue and fluid, causing sharp, needle-like pain in the joints, as well as fever, chills, and loss of mobility. Some of the health problems caused by gout include constipation, indigestion, headaches, depression, eczema, and hives. Those who suffer with gout also run a much higher risk of heart and kidney problems.
In 50 percent of gout cases, the first attack is characterized by intense pain in the first joint of the big toe. If the attack progresses, fever and chills will appear. Initial gout attacks usually strike at night and are preceded by a specific event such as excessive alcohol ingestion, trauma, certain drugs, or surgery. Subsequent attacks of gout are common, with most patients experiencing another attack within one year. However, nearly 7 percent of gout sufferers never have a second attack. Gout affects approximately three out of every thousand adults and is primarily a disease of adult men, 95 percent of gout sufferers being males over the age of thirty.
· Causes of Gout
The underlying cause of gout is unknown, yet research has found that it can be basically attributed to metabolic or renal problems. Increased production of uric acids may be the result of enzyme defects, metabolic defects, chronic anemia, kidney disease, or other complex conditions.
While "high living" may not be the primary cause of gout as it is currently understood, proper diet, nutrition, and metabolic balance all play crucial roles in the prevention and treatment of this disease today. In fact, the traditional conception of gout as an "affluent condition", has some basis in reality since meats, particularly organ meats, increase production of uric acid, while alcohol inhibits uric acid secretion by the kidneys.