Gout In Kenya: The Painful Rheumatic Disease Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

 

Gout In Kenya: The Painful Rheumatic Disease Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Gout is a condition that results from build-up of excessive uric acid in the blood which will cause swelling and pain mostly in one of the big toes however other joints may also get affected.

Other joints that may get involved includes- ankle, knee, fingers, wrist and elbow joints.

How It Happens

Uric acid is formed from the breakdown of purines which are substances found naturally within the body and other foods e.g red meat, sea food, alcoholic beverages and fructose(sugar) sweetened refined drinks.

After it's production, uric acid is supposed to be excreted via the kidneys in the urine however due to kidney problems, there may be inadequate uric acid excretion leading to it's excessive build-up in the body.

In some cases the kidneys may be functioning normally however the body may abnormally produce excess uric acid that may be beyond the kidneys' capacity to excrete.

The accumulated retained uric acid will then form crystals known as urate crystals which are need like sharp substances that will cause pain and swelling at the joints.

Symptoms of Gout

Symptoms are classified into asymptomatic, acute gout symptoms and chronic gout symptoms.

In asymptomatic stage, there is no pain/swelling/any discomfort despite the high uric acid levels in the body.

In acute stage, excruciating pain and swelling is experienced majorly affecting one of the big toes though other joints may also get affected.

The acute stage attack normally lasts between 12 hours to 24 hours though it can sometimes get prolonged between 3 days to 10 days. 

Chronic stage is normally longstanding however the symptoms are not acute.

Some of the symptoms that one may present with include acute joint pain, joint swelling and reddening/hotness of the joints, limited mobility of the affected joint.

Risk factors

A positive family history of gout, frequent high purine content diet(red meat, sea food), obesity, chronic renal disease, high alcohol consumption, obesity, diabetes melitus, hypertension, thyroid disease, prolonged use of certain medications e.g diuretics/aspirin, and antirejection medications in organ transplant.

Diagnosis

This is made by taking the patient's history and physical examination. Diagnostic tests such as the affected joint's fluid uric acid levels and X-ray may also be done.

Treatment

This will be determined by the disease stage and the general health state of the patient.

Some of the drugs that may be employed include analgesics e.g NSAIDS and corticosteroids, attack blockers e.g probenacid and xanthine oxidase inhibitors.
For severe joint damage, surgical intervention may be considered.

Complications

Delayed treatment may cause joint damage which may lead to arthritis development.

Other complications includes- kidney failure and hard nodules deposits known as tophi beneath the skin of the affected joints.

 

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