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Gout

Gout is the symptomatic manifestation caused by deposition of urate in tissues and raised uric acid level in blood.

Source of uric acid

Uric acid is the metabolite of purine which some food items are rich in. Owing to genetic predisposition, certain people are more prone to produce excess uric acid and hence gouty attack if they eat excessive purine-rich food.

Who are prone to have gouty arthritis

People who suffer from gouty arthritis are usually over 40 years old and male. Many of them love drinking alcohol and eating foods which are rich in purine, such as offal, shellfish and seafood. In addition, those who have blood cancer, kidney disease or take diuretics are also prone to have gouty arthritis.

Symptoms of gout

  • Gout usually presents with acute inflammation of a single joint, most commonly the big toe.
  • Affected site becomes suddenly red, swollen, hot and intensely painful, which subsides after a few days.
  • If the blood uric acid level is not controlled, urate will deposit in other joints like knee, ankle and fingers.
  • If the condition is not well managed, it will develop into multiple joint disease and recur frequently.
  • In severe cases, joints become deformed, resulting in chronic tophaceous gout.
  • Chronic gouty arthritis may affect kidney function and cause stones to form in the kidneys or soft tissues.

Prevention and control

  • Gout cannot be cured. But appropriate medication and diet restriction can prevent recurrent attacks.
  • Drinking more water (at least 2 litres per day) can help the body to excrete excess urate.
  • Avoid being overweight.
  • Diet restriction should include the following:
    1. Alcohol
    2. Offal such as brain, liver, kidney, heart, pancreas, etc.
    3. Sardine, fish eggs, shellfish like scallop and mussel
    4. Excessive meat, poultry and fish
    5. Excessive legume, winter mushroom, cauliflower, spinach, asparagus
  • In acute attack of gout, drugs can reduce joint pain effectively. If gout recurs frequently, long-term medication is needed to prevent recurrent attack.