While nobody wants to be sick or suffer from a disease, by its nickname alone, the “rich man’s disease,” doesn’t sound like the worse one to be stuck with.
Gout received this nickname because of its association with the rich foods, red meat and alcohol that are all considered contributing factors and causes of gout. The rich part comes into play because it was only the wealthy people who could afford such indulgences on a regular basis and thus, they were often the ones afflicted. While this was not always the case, the fact remains that Beethoven, Charles Dickens and Benjamin Franklin all suffered from this disease, and all led rather opulent lives.
But what is gout exactly? Well, it is a type of arthritis, and well many of you might be tempted to stop reading after reading that, I would encourage you to continue. It seems to be a common misconception that arthritis is something that only affects the old; however, the truth is that more cases of arthritis, especially gout, are being diagnosed every single year.
Gout is considered to be on the most painful forms of arthritis and occurs when too much uric acid builds up in the body. This abundance of uric acid can have a variety of impacts on the body including the development of sharp uric acid crystals in the joints, often in the big toe; deposits of uric acid that appear as lumps under the skin, also known as tophi; as well as the potential for kidney stones from uric acid crystals.
Typically, gout will affect the big toe; however, it can also impact a person’s instep, their ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers and elbows.
While diet is certainly considered to play a large part in the development and combating of gout, stress, alcohol and drug consumption as well as other illnesses can all be contributing factors. Men are usually more affected by gout then women with a reported 3 million cases being diagnosed each year. Women are usually protected pre menopause due to elevated estrogen levels in their bodies.
It is important to remember that gout is a chronic illness, and unless treated it will progressively get worse. However, that being said, gout, like most other illness, need to be detected early in order to benefit the most from treatment. By knowing what to look out for, you can be aware of the signs and symptoms of gout before it can have a chance to seriously impact your life.
Here are the 10 most common signs and symptoms of gout:
Many people who suffer from gout report a very red, sometimes purplish skin around the joints in the affected area. To the untrained eye, this can appear as a infection or an unexplained bruised. Do to the pain found in the area, often people turn to bruising as an explanation, and the fact that this system doesn’t last long can further compound that misdiagnosis.
If you notice this on your joints, especially on your foot and around your toe, and it cannot be easily explained, it might be prudent to go see a doctor. While you relief from gout is never immediate, being proactive can help save you a lot of trouble in the long run.