Gout is an inflammatory form of arthritis wherein people face swelling and severe pain in their joints including elbows, thumbs, fingers, knees and ankles, especially in the big toe. Symptoms like redness, warmth and tenderness around joints are results of abnormal metabolism of Uric acid. This may be due to two conditions like the excess production of uric acid or failure of kidneys in removing uric acid from the body in the form of urine. This excess build-up of Uric acid in our body takes the form of crystals and collects in and around joints.
Causes of Gout
Uric acid is normally cleaned out of the blood by the kidneys, and passes out of the body along with urine. However, high levels of uric acid can accumulate in the body, either when the kidneys excrete too little uric acid, when the body produces too much uric acid. This condition is known as hyperuricemia. The main causes are:
- Genetics: An estimated 20 to 80 percent of people with gout have a family history gout
- Weight: Being overweight increases risk
- Drinking too much alcohol keeps the body from removing uric acid.
- Eating high-purine foods can lead to gout flares or make them worse. These foods include asparagus, beef kidneys, brains, dried beans and peas, game meats, gravy, herring, liver, mackerel, mushrooms, sardines, scallops, and sweetbread
- Other health problems that may contribute to gout include: high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, psoriasis, hemolytic anemia, or some cancers, Kelley-Seegmiller syndrome
- Lesch-Nyhan syndrome and some inherited disorders
- Diuretics (water pills): These are taken to ease high blood pressure, edema, and heart disease. They also decrease the amount of uric acid passed in the urine.
- Usage of some drugs like Salicylate-containing drugs, Niacin, Cyclosporine and Levodopa.
Stages of gout
- Asymptomatic hyperuricemia: In this stage, people may not experience any symptoms and are before the first attack. In this, the crystals get deposited in and around the joint slowly.
- Acute Gout: This is the stage where individuals experience discomfort in their joints and Gout attacks suddenly at night.
- Inter-critical Gout: This is the stage between the attacks and people in this stage may not have any symptoms. You can take preventive measures to eliminate the risk of recurrent of attacks by changing lifestyle and dietary changes.
- Chronic Gout: In this stage individuals experience frequent attacks of Gout due to elevated uric acid levels. If not controlled your joint may get damaged.
Symptoms of gout
- Warmth, pain, swelling, and extreme tenderness in a joint, usually a joint. This symptom is called Podagra. The pain often starts during the night. It may get worse quickly, last for hours, and be so intense that even light pressure from a sheet is intolerable.
- Very red or purplish skin around the affected joint. The joint may appear to be infected.
- Limited movement in the affected joint.
- Peeling and itching of the skin around the affected joint as the gout gets better.
- Some people may not experience gout as many painful attacks. Instead they have gout nearly all the time (chronic gout). Chronic gout in older adults may be less painful and can be confused with other forms of arthritis.
- Gout may lead to inflammation of the fluid sacs (bursae) that cushion tissues, particularly in the elbow (olecranon bursitis) and knee (prepatellar bursitis).
- Gout can also affect the joints of the feet, ankles, knees, wrists, fingers, and elbows.
- Symptoms may occur after an illness or surgery.
- Gout may first appear as nodules (tophi) on the hands, elbows, or ears. You may not have any of the classic symptoms of a gout attack.
Diagnosis of gout
Tests to help diagnose gout may include:
- Joint fluid test: Joint fluid may reveal urate crystals.
- Blood test: to measure the levels of uric acid and creatinine in your blood.
Blood test results can be misleading, though. Some people have high uric acid levels, but never experience gout. And some people have signs and symptoms of gout, but don’t have unusual levels of uric acid in their blood.
- X-ray imaging: Joint X-rays can be helpful to rule out other causes of joint inflammation.
- Ultrasound: Musculoskeletal ultrasound can detect urate crystals in a joint or in a tophus.
- Dual energy CT scan: This type of imaging can detect the presence of urate crystals in a joint, even when it is not acutely inflamed.
Homeopathic remedies can provide a measure of relief during painful attacks of joint pain and inflammation. A constitutional remedy prescribed by an experienced homeopath may help to reduce further episodes. Homeopathic remedies are useful to reduce the swelling and inflammation as well as aid in the healing of the joints. Gout is caused by the build-up of uric acid in the joints, particularly of the hands and feet. The swelling puts pressure on and causes enlargement of the area, which can lead to extreme pain. Homeopathy helps in controlling the pain during the acute attack of gout as well as helps in preventing the recurrence of such episodes. It helps in reducing stiffness and improves the mobility of the joints. Homeopathy is very strongly suggested for the treatment of Gout.
Bryonia Alba is a medicine for gout in cases where there is excessive pain, swelling, redness, and heat in the affected joint. The nature of the pain is sharp or tearing. The pain may get worse from the slightest movement while warming the joint provides relief.
Colchicum Autumnale is a medicine for gout that affects the big toe. There may be intense swelling and pain in the big toe that gets worse on movement, and from the slightest touch. Evening aggravation of the toe pain is also noted in few cases requiring this remedy.
Lycopodium Clavatum is a medicine for gout where there is heel pain and high levels of uric acid. There may be worsening of heel pain while walking and a sensation of stone under the heel. Along with this, profuse sweat on the feet and coldness of feet is present. Lycopodium Clavatum is also indicated for cases of chronic gout where chalky deposits have formed in the joints.
Benzoicum Acidum is a medicine for gout that affects the knee joint. The joint is swollen and painful, and there is a cracking in the joint with movement. In some cases, nodes from the deposits of urate crystals may be present on the knees. Benzoicum Acidum also works well in cases of knee pain worsening from taking wine.
Ledum Pal is a medicine for gout leading to ankle pain. Pain and swelling in the ankle that radiates upwards in the leg is present. The pain also gets worse with movement.
Abrotanum is a medicine for gout that causes wrist pain, along with high uric acid levels. The wrist gets inflamed and sore to touch. Stiffness and a pricking sensation may be present. Abrotanum is also indicated for gout in the ankles.
Causticum is a medicine for gout in the elbow joint when there is a pressing or gripping sensation felt in the elbow, along with pain. Warmth in the elbow area can help relieve the pain. Causticum also helps in lowering down the uric acid levels.
Berberis Vulgaris is an anti-uric acid medicine that helps dissolve kidney stones. It is indicated in cases where there is a pain in the kidney area. The pain may radiate down to the urinary bladder from the kidney area, along with a stinging, burning sensation in the kidneys. The urine may also contain sandy or slimy sediments.
It can also be very helpful for discomfort that comes with gout. Pain is sore and bruise-like, and it hurts to walk. The person may be afraid to be approached or touched, because of pain. This remedy is used when the pain is sore and bruised, such as it hurts to walk. The person may be afraid to be touched or approached because of pain.
This remedy helps in the elimination of uric acid from the body. The patient has a tendency to gout and uric acid formations. The joint symptoms are associated with hive-like eruptions. There is pain in the shoulders (deltoid region), wrists and ankles. The patient is worse from exposure to cool moist air, snow-air, water and touch. Select the remedy that most closely matches the symptoms.
This remedy can be useful for gouty swelling of the big toe joint that flares up before a storm. Other joints may ache and swell, especially on the right side of the body. Pain usually is worse toward early morning and after staying still too long. The person may feel better from warmth and after eating.
When this remedy is indicated, the finger joints may become enlarged because of gout, and the knees and toes may be involved. Stabbing pain is experienced, and the joints may make a cracking sound on movement. Discomfort is worse during weather changes, and warmth may bring relief.
Symptoms that suggest this remedy are sudden onset. Joints are swollen, red, throbbing and extremely sensitive. It’s worse from touch and jarring. The person may feel restless, flushed and hot.
This homeopathic medicine is important for treating gout in women when the patient already suffers from another female disorder. Uterine symptoms are experienced along with the basic symptoms of gout. Shooting pain is experienced in the toes and heels. The joints get swollen and look red and shiny.
This is an efficient homeopathic medicine used for treating gout. It is used when a patient experiences gastric symptom along with joint pain and inflammation. The patient may develop an increased craving for food and hence, several problems occur due to overeating. Pain is experienced in the heels and fingers.