Gout? Causing You Pain? What Can Be Done To Help?
Gout currently affects approximately 1 in 200 adults in the UK. It is generally more common in men than it is in women. Gout generally runs in families, and it most commonly affects people who are middle age.
In the UK there has been approximately a 5% increase in the number of hospital admissions for Gout in the last 10 years. It is estimated that from these individuals being admitted with Gout 225,000 of sufferers are male and 57,000 are female.
Similarly In America the number of Gout cases has risen. In 2011 Gout affected 21% of individuals, and it has been found that it could be linked to the growing rates of obesity in America.
What Is Gout?
Gout is a type of Arthritis. It occurs when crystals of sodium urate begin to form inside an individual’s joints. This happens when there is a build up of uric acid which may develop into crystals which can collect in the joints and this can irritate the tissues in the joint. This causes pain and swelling of the joints.
The symptoms of Gout generally develop quickly over the period of a few hours, and they can last between 7 – 10 days. Gout can affect more than one joint at a time, and the affected area generally tends to look inflamed and swollen. Individuals may experience multiple attacks within their lifetime, and the gaps between attacks can vary greatly for individuals.
Causes Of Gout
There are a number of factors that could potentially cause an outbreak of Gout, and these include: drinking too much alcohol, vitamin C deficiency, certain foods, medications and drinks may increase uric acid levels, and pre-existing conditions may also increase an individual’s chances of getting gout.
Treatment Of Gout
There are two main treatment options available for Gout, and these are: to relieve the symptoms of a Gout attack, and to prevent a Gout attack.
There are a number of different ways to relieve the symptoms of a Gout attack, and these include: taking anti-inflammatory painkillers or standard painkillers. There are also alternative medications that can be used to relieve the symptoms of a Gout attack, for example Colchicine is a medication that is generally used when an individual is unable to take anti-inflammatory painkillers. It works by reducing the number of white blood cells travelling to the affected area, which in turn reduces the swelling and pain.
The main method of preventing a Gout attack is to make a number of lifestyle changes. This could include doing things such as: reducing alcohol consumption, dietary changes, losing weight (if you are overweight), or taking a medication called Allopurinol, which is designed to reduce the levels of uric acid within the body.
Long-Term Effects Of Gout
If an individual persistently suffers from Gout over their lifetime, there may be a number of long-term effects that they may suffer with and these include: joint damage, kidney stones, kidney injury, skin nodules, or recurring flares of Arthritis. However it isn’t common for individuals to suffer from complications or long-term effects of Gout, although some individuals may experience some psychological effects after suffering from Gout over a prolonged period of time. This is because it may affect an individual’s overall mood, and the severe pain associated with Gout can cause an individual too experience feelings of anxiety or depression, which could in turn impact on an individual’s daily life.
Home Care And Gout
For those who experience Gout persistently throughout their lives a Home Care package could prove to be extremely beneficial. This is because a care workers can help an individual with a number of different aspects of their lives, and this includes: medication management, meal preparation, domestic duties, and dealing with all aspects of personal care.
This can be beneficial because a care worker can help an individual to make lifestyle changes in order to reduce the likelihood of further Gout attacks, and they can also help to support an individual, who may be lacking in confidence from suffering long-term effects of Gout. A care worker may be able support them on going on outings, and this in turn can boost their self-esteem and help them to do activities that they enjoy doing.