When people complain of joint pain, it may be due to the metabolic disorder gout. The result of gout can then be a gout attack. But what exactly is a gout attack and what can you do about it? We will tell you about first aid for a gout attack.
What exactly is a gout attack?
Gout is a disease in which the metabolism in our body is not functioning properly. Normally, a metabolic process in our body produces uric acid. This allows certain substances, such as purines from food or stimulants, to be broken down. Purines are first converted into uric acid and then excreted through the kidneys. This natural process can be disturbed by gout. In gout, the uric acid cannot be excreted sufficiently as usual. Instead, the uric acid is deposited in the body and can cause pain or inflammation in the joints. This can also lead to other diseases.
A gout attack is usually an acute disorder in our body. This means that the pain is not permanent, but is only triggered during a certain period of time. Nevertheless, gout attacks can also become chronic. For example, a gout attack can develop if you do not change your diet despite having gout. If you continue to eat fatty foods or drink a lot of alcohol, acute gout attacks are not uncommon. The metabolic disorder persists and you continue to suffer unpleasant pain in the joints or even in the kidneys.
Gout is very strongly dependent on diet and can thus trigger gout attacks more often or less often. Purines are mainly found in meat, fish and alcohol. Beer in particular contains many purines, while wine contains fewer. Nevertheless, due to its higher alcohol content, wine can also be dangerous for gout sufferers. But other foods also contain purines in higher amounts. So if we take in a lot of purines through food, the occurrence of a gout attack is very likely.
Why can a gout attack be dangerous?
A gout attack can be dangerous because it can cause symptoms of variable severity. In addition, regular gout attacks can lead to other secondary diseases. If gout attacks occur again and again, you usually still do not have your diet under control. If gout attacks are ignored, they can lead to severe joint inflammation or kidney problems.
If gout attacks occur repeatedly, you should have yourself examined by a doctor. You should trust the advice of a doctor who specialises in gout. If you do not feel informed enough after the first consultation, a second opinion is always recommended.
The doctor can diagnose gout with the help of blood and urine tests. If gout is advanced, deposits can also be seen on X-rays. To be on the safe side, some doctors also take some joint fluid. After diagnosing gout, a doctor can then prescribe the right treatment for the gout attacks. In addition to dietary changes, gout can also be treated with medication.
Symptoms of a gout attack
A typical symptom of a gout attack is that it occurs mainly at night. The first thing that is usually affected is the big toe, which begins to swell up. The toe also turns red and feels very hot. The pain in the inflamed area is enormous. Slight movements or touching can cause incredible pain. Other joints, such as the ankle or knee, are rarely affected by a gout attack. In the worst case, a gout attack can last up to 2 weeks without treatment.
Causes of a gout attack
As we already know, a gout attack can be caused by the increased consumption of purines. However, apart from a poor and unbalanced diet, other factors can also contribute to a gout attack.
Other factors include:
- Not being active enough
- High alcohol consumption
- Food with a high purine content
- Too much consumption of fructose via e.g.: Juices
- Being overweight
First aid for gout attacks: Tips
The question that those affected naturally ask themselves is how to treat a gout attack quickly and, above all, how to relieve the severe pain. Many patients rely on homeopathic remedies to relieve the pain and reduce inflammation. Physiotherapy and acupuncture are also said to help against gout attacks. The only problem with gout attacks is that there is no real first aid. This is because the pain and inflammation cannot heal quickly. Therefore, it is important to help your body in the long term:
- Change your diet and avoid foods containing purine.
- Above all, eat a low-fat diet and avoid foods such as meat, sausage and fatty fish. In addition, meals should be prepared with low calories.
- Refrain from excessive alcohol consumption. This does not mean that you must abstain from alcohol completely. However, you should consume alcohol to the best of your knowledge and conscience.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day, ideally between 2 and 3 litres. If you also do sports and sweat a lot, you should drink even more water.
- Make sure you work out regularly or do sports. But it doesn’t always have to be strenuous and energy-sapping sports. Regular walking, cycling or even hiking can help.
- If you are overweight, you should try to lose weight and reduce your body weight. But here, too, you should approach weight loss with a lot of calm. Losing body weight takes time.
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