Gout

What is it?

An excruciatingly painful condition caused by deposition of uric acid crystals in a joint, gout classically affects the first joint of the big toe. Generally, this condition results from an excess of uric acid in the blood, which results from dietary excess of alcohol, rich foods, ingestion of certain pharmaceutical drugs, and can also be related to genetic factors.

Key Points:

  • Pain: rapid onset and build-up over a few hours (especially at night); usually affects a single joint
  • Redness: change in skin color in the early stages of the attack
  • Heat and swelling over affected joint(s), or over entire region
• Extreme tenderness of affected joint – light touch, e.g. from a bed sheet or sock, may cause exquisite pain
  • Swelling apparent in larger joints
  • Occasionally systemic features accompany the condition like high fever and high white blood cell count
  • Classically, the onset of attack is at night and involves the first joint of the big toe
  • Most commonly affects middle-aged men

How do we treat it?

Gout is caused by uric acid crystallization in the joints. To maintain a healthy balance of minerals and pH in the blood, the body must find a way to remove these elements from the blood. When it cannot effectively eliminate them through normal pathways, it deposits them instead in a joint to protect the more vital tissues and organs. What can cause such an imbalance? While genetics may be a factor, there are many modifiable issues that deserve attention, including dietary and kidney support. In health, the kidneys excrete uric acid. With suboptimal kidney function, gout results when this waste product gets placed in the joints. With the proper naturopathic program, most clients with gout can say goodbye to the painful acute episodes they have had in the past.

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