Podagra, more commonly known as Gout, is an inflammatory arthritic condition. It was more commonly known as “the disease of kings” or at some instances “rich man’s disease”. This condition is described as when joints swell up and turn hot and tender; the most affected is the base joint at the toe.
Symptoms of gout include swelling of joints, mainly the knee, toe or ankle joints. The swelling lasts longer and gradually turns into a throbbing sensation that it hurts to touch. It might go away after a while, but the pain and swelling returns from time to time often during the night and in severe cases might involve a spell of fever as well.
Only recently Gout has been on a drastic rise, around 1-2% of European population falls prey to this disease. It is believed that the frequent occurrence of this disease is due to the changes in our everyday diet. The disease is basically triggered by frequent consumption of alcohol, meat and fructose sweetened drinks. Other than that stress, trauma and surgery also contribute to the occurrence of this disease.
However, the basic reason for such a disease is said to be high levels of uric acid, which crystallizes and accumulates on joints making them brittle. Clinically this is confirmed by the traces of crystals in the fluid existing between joints. However, other than the high levels of uric acid, the swelling of joints can also be an indication of tophi, kidney stones, or urate nephropathy.
Hyperuricemia is the basic underlying cause of gout occurrence; around 10% of people with hyperuricemia have high tendencies of developing gout at some point in life. This can happen due to numerous reasons, namely a bad diet, under excretion of urate or genetic predisposition, the increased amount of salt crystals containing high amounts of uric acid. Around 90% of the identified cases are due to the renal under excretion of uric acid.
The condition can be further explored by a number of tests, such as the Synovial fluid analysis (shows uric acid crystals), Uric acid – blood, Joint x-rays, Synovial biopsy, Uric acid – urine. However, the ailment can most definitely be brought under control by taking some measures. If the condition gets worse, the only way to rectify them is by the frequent use of no steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids, or colchicines, for a prolonged period.
The pain often goes away after 12 hours of the right procedure. Once the condition improves, it can be kept under control by diet and one’s lifestyle. The right diet accounts for up to 12% of gout control. Therefore, a reduction in the consumption of alcohol, fatty foods and the consumption of meat (high protein) can immensely help improve the situation. The disorder itself might not altogether be avoidable, but one can most certainly take a few measures to prevent it from happening.