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Like arthritis, gout involves inflammation and pain in a joint, most frequently the joint at the base of the big toe, when it is known as podagra. It can also occur in other toe joints, the heel or knee, or in the wrist or fingers.

Onset of the condition is often rapid, usually occurs overnight, and may involve excruciating pain. Bouts of gout may come and go, but it can become chronic, in which case damage to affected joints may occur that closely resemble the effects of osteoarthritis.

 Gout in foot

Chronic gout may also give rise to other problems such as kidney damage, painful tendons or the appearance of small, usually painless, masses under the skin (tophi). About 1% of men will experience gout at some point, and this figure may rise to about 5% in men aged 65 and over. For women both figures are lower. Gout often tends to fade away then recur on another occasion. According to the British Medical Association, 60% - 80% of sufferers will have a second attack within three years.

Gout will normally subside in a week to ten days, but can be extremely debilitating during this period.


The cause of gout

Unlike arthritis, the immediate cause of gout attacks is known. It is caused by the deposition within affected joints of uric acid in solid form. This usually occurs at night, when body temperature falls, precipitating out the uric acid crystals. These deposits are abrasive and quickly irritate the delicate joint linings, resulting in the pain and inflammation. Movement of the joint may also cause superficial mechanical damage to the surfaces of the linings.

Uric acid is a normal waste product in the body which is produced when certain proteins (purines) are broken down. Purines are the breakdown products of DNA and may come from meat or from the normal internal recycling of body tissues.

Because gout was historically associated with the better-off, who could afford a high-protein diet and red wine, it became known as the 'rich man's disease', and excessive meat intake and over consumption of drinks such as port are still widely thought to be the cause. In fact the 'cause' is genetic - a reduced ability to excrete purines and/or uric acid, that allows blood levels to increase above normal. Of course, if you have this genetic predisposition, then over consumprion of meat (from any source) may hasten an attack of gout. Excessive consumption of alcohol may interfere with kidney function, but is not knwn to be directly causally linked.

The condition is also related to diabetes, kidney complaints, obesity and may be triggered by medications such as diuretics ('water tablets') prescribed for high blood pressure.


Treatment of gout

The onset of gout can be very sudden and this requires immediate action to reduce the severity of the pain produced. However the longer term goal when the crisis has subsided should be the minimisation of the possibility of future attacks, which are highly likely if no action is taken.

Immediate and short term treatment

If you have a flare-up of gout, there are a couple of things you can do. The first is to take an anti-inflammatory pain killer such as paracetemol or ibuprofen (nurophen). The second is to take a prolonged hot shower or hot bath to raise your body temperature, which may help to at least partially re-dissolve the uric acid crystals. It may also help to over-dress for the season afterwards, to help maintain a slightly elevated body temperature and to wear thick socks or gloves according to the location of the gout-affected joint.

To control the symptoms you may be offered steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) by your doctor, or colchicine by a doctor, herbalist or naturopath.

NSAIDs or steroids (normally prednisolone) are unsuitable for long term use as they have many possible side effects, including liver damage in the case of pain killers. Steroids can produce mood swings, 'moon face' and other side effects after continued usage. The problem with all of these is that they only mask the pain, and do little to reverse the actual cause of the problem. It is probably best, if possible, to rotate the use of different NSAIDs and possibly steroids, in order to try to spread the load on the liver, which has to break down and excrete these artificial compounds. Milk thistle can provide liver support during this period, which should be kept as short as possible.

Colchicine, an extract of the Autumn Crocus bulb, is a traditional remedy for gout, rheumatism and back pain, but it is potentially toxic, and dangerous to use. It is also a mutagen, i.e., it causes genetic damage in replicating cells. Babies, children and pregnant women should therefore never be exposed to colchicine. Because it is at least partially effective in reducing gout pain, some people may choose to use it in small doses, but it is highly recommended to keep both the dose and duration as short as possible. Better still, avoid it entirely.

Longer term treatment

Long term treatment is aimed at reducing recurrence of gout flare-ups as far as possible. The most commonly prescribed rugs are allopurinol and febuxostat

Allopurinol is a synthetic drug that reduces the amount of urate (dissolved uric acid salt) in your body.  Studies have confirmed that allopurinol reduces blood urate levels, but curiously there do not seem to any studies that show that it actually reduced the recurrance of gout!  Allopurinol can sometimes cause skin rashes, and can also interact with other drugs. There is good evidence to indicate that allopurinol may actually increase the likelihood of another gout attack when it is initially used, and it will probably  make your symptoms worse if you start taking it during an attack of gout. For this reason your doctor will not start it until two or three weeks after an attack of gout has settled.

An alternative called febuxostat may also be prescribed, but appears to be even ess effective than allopurinol, and again may actually trigger a gout flare-up. There are other anti-gout drugs such as Sulfinpyrazone and Probenecid, but in most cases side effects offset any benefits, and they are rarely prescribed.

As the cause of gout is connected to the elimination of waste from meat, it makes sense to cut down on these foods, even if you think you don't eat much of them. Substituting eggs and dairy products (but not fish) for meat will greatly reduce the purine load on your body, but the cheese may not help your waistline!  Unfortunately there has not been much research in this area, so it is not certain if this will have an effect.

Men who drink beer or spirits (grain) have an increased incidence of gout, but wines (red or white) do not seem to make any difference. Increasing the amount of water you drink should theoretically help eliminate purines, but there does not seem to be any firm evidence for this, either.  There is also some research that indicates that sugary soft drinks, and even fruit juice, can increase the risk of gout when taken daily.

Supplements for gout

A recent study showed that relatively large daily doses of vitamin C can reduce the risk of developing gout. Compared with men with a vitamin C intake of less than 250 mg a day, those taking 1,000 mg per day had a 34% lower risk and those taking 1,500 mg per day had a 45% lower risk of gout .  Vitamin C works by reducing the uric acid level in the bloodstream. The mechanism is not certain, but it seems to alter the rate at which uric acid is excreted by the kidneys.

Recommended Products

Recommended Book: 'The Gout Report' by Joseph Barton

The latest gout research has linked gout with a very dangerous disease that affects many people prone to gout attacks. This dangerous "mystery disease" increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and sudden death!

This book reveals exactly how you can cure your gout and also cure the underlying disease that could be causing your gout, using a complete step-by-step system of natural and proven alternative treatments you can use at home. Be rid of the pain and debilitation one and for all, and at the same time clear the underlying health problem that could threaten your life.




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Recommended Book: 'Gout Sniper' (includes audio book and bonuses)

Best BuyGout can cause permanent damage to the affected joint area and this damage will affect you for the rest of your life. That is why it is vitally important to treat gout in the safest and most natural way possible. Gout Sniper provides you with an extensive 5 step plan for getting rid of your gout as quickly and safely as possible using 5 supermarket purchased items. These new natural home remedies are non-invasive and are 100% safe.

Many of the medications that a doctor will prescribe to you for gout have severe side effects. This 5 step plan has zero negative side effects and is still so powerful that in many cases gout is cured within a few hours.




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Recommended Book: 'The Ultimate Gout Relief Report' by Dr Jeff Sands DDS

Discover the simple home remedy that took my pain away almost instantly, to the diet and health food that have allowed me to be gout free for many months now. If you are suffering from gout you are just one click away from instant relief, without any dangerous drugs.  All you need is a safe, natural and very effective remedy that’s hiding in your kitchen right now!

This all natural home remedy can give you fast relief, plus freedom from pain for the rest of your life - guaranteed.



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