Red and Painful Joints? It Could Be Gout

Red and Painful Joints? It Could Be Gout

Staff Writer |Apr 16, 2020

What is Gout?

To answer "what is gout?" you should know it is a relatively frequently occurring type of arthritis. The common condition is the result of having elevated levels of uric acid in your bloodstream. This excess of uric acid leads to uric acid crystal formation in the joints, notoriously the one on the base of the big toe. These crystals cause a number of alarming and uncomfortable symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms

Gout can manifest in several different ways depending on the patient. In general, gout can be characterized as episodes of joint pain, swelling, and redness.

The pain itself can occur out of nowhere, and either turn into a general discomfort or disappear. Episodes of gout can occur abruptly and it is not uncommon for them to start in the middle of the night.

The big toe is one of the most common appendages that is affected, although it can also affect the forefoot, knees, ankles, knees, elbows, and bones in your hand or wrist.

Types of Gout

Although these all refer to the same illness, there are “types” of gout, which indicate different stages of the illness.

  • Asymptomatic hyperuricemia: This is the earliest stage of the disease. Some of the crystals may be causing some tissue damage, but symptoms may be mild to non-existent.
  • Acute: This refers to a more extreme event. In acute gout, patients experience acute episodes of intense pain in a “flare” that lasts a couple of days. Different events can trigger the onset of symptoms, including stress or alcohol. They may also appear seemingly out of nowhere.
  • Intercritical: When flares die down but you still have gout, your body is still depositing excess urate crystals into your joint tissue. These periods are called intercritical gout, where you may not really feel symptoms but the damage is still happening.
  • Chronic tophaceous: This is the most extreme form of the disease. It is debilitating and can get to the point where permanent and extreme damage has been done to the joints and kidneys. Huge lumps and pain may be chronically present at this point.

There is also a condition that is referred to as pseudogout. This condition is not a form of gout, but it is very similar in terms of the symptoms someone might experience. These similar symptoms are not caused by urate crystals, but rather calcium pyrophosphate crystals. Generally, symptom expression is less severe in comparison to traditional gout.

Treatment Options

There are several different medications that may be prescribed to treat gout. Different medications may be used depending on the types of symptoms you are experiencing or expressing a desire to reduce.

These medications include some which may manage uric acid levels (aloprim, zyloprim, ulroic, or lesinurad), inflammation (colcrys), or painkillers. Talk to your doctor to find a solution which is best for you.

Natural Remedies for Gout

One of the best natural remedies for gout is making lifestyle changes. By making these tiny lifestyle changes, you will be able to minimize the flares of gout or even prevent it entirely. If you know that you have had a flare before or are at risk for developing gout, consider taking the following steps:

  • Drink lots of water: Drinking the recommended amount of water a day can help keep your body in tip-top shape.
  • Achieve a healthy body weight: Obesity puts a lot of pressure on your body. If you are overweight, try to achieve and maintain healthy body weight.
  • Stay sober: Alcohol can be an especially big trigger for gout. Consider abstaining from alcohol use in order to keep your gout under control.
  • Change your diet: To limit the about of uric acid coming into your body, make changes to your what you eat. There are some foods that will encourage very high levels of uric acid in your body, including: anchovies, sardines, mackerel, herring, lobster, shrimp, mussels, scallops, mushrooms, organs (especially liver and kidneys), fast food, soda, and alcohol.

Consider having healthier foods that encourage an overall healthy diet. Some of the best foods for managing gout include:

  • Yogurt and skim milk
  • Nuts and grains
  • Fresh fruits and veggies
  • Potatoes

Most importantly, be sure to practice moderation.

When to See a Doctor

As soon as you notice that your symptoms are interfering with your daily life, you should make an appointment with a medical professional. This is a good practice in general. Even if you do not have gout, alarming symptoms may be a sign of a more serious underlying condition.

Article Resources

Our Most Valuable advice

9 Signs of Pregnancy to Be Aware Of

Sinead Carey | April 16, 2020

What Are the Symptoms of Pregnancy? The early signs and symptoms of pregnancy can vary wildly from person to person. It is essential to be aware of the common symptoms and the possible and rare symptoms. So, what are the symptoms of pregnancy? We will dive into the specifics. Common Symptoms of Pregnancy 1. Missed Period Missing your period is most often the first sign of pregnancy. Your body recognizes the conception and stops making the hormone that sheds the lining of your womb. Your menstrual cycle is essentially paused, and you won’t have another period until after the baby is born. 2. Morning Sickness Contrary to what is shown on TV, morning sickness can also happen at noon and night. Feeling nauseous and vomiting is a normal part of early pregnancy. It is most common in the morning, and this is what coined the term. 3. Overtiredness or Fatigue You know the feeling when you sleep well but still feel tired? That is fatigue, and it is common in early pregnancy. Experts say this is due to the rise of hormone levels. This feeling tends to improve over time. 4. Frequent Urination Are you going to the bathroom every 10 minutes? This is another sign of pregnancy. Your body’s blood supply increases to support the new life, which means your kidneys must work harder. More waste plus more urine equals extra trips to the bathroom. 5. Aching Breasts Your breasts may start to feel sore and tender. You may have felt this before during your period, or it could be a completely new experience. This feeling is due to your fluctuating hormone levels and should fade with time. Some people describe this as an aching or tingling feeling. You might also experience a slight enlargement of your breasts. 6. Mild Cramps and Spotting Don’t panic if you see you have light spotting or cramping in the first few weeks. Spotting can indicate that the embryo has implanted in the lining of your womb. Implantation usually takes place a few days after you conceive and can cause blood spots or brown discharge. This symptom is crucial to know about, as it causes many people to believe they are not pregnant. If you are concerned or the bleeding persists, speak to your doctor without delay. 7. Headaches Persistent headaches can be a sign of so many things. That is why people don’t recognize them as a sign of pregnancy. If you are experiencing frequent headaches, there may be more to it than you think. Make sure you find a headache treatment option that safe for you. 8. Metallic Taste in Mouth Some people experience a metallic, coppery taste during early pregnancy. It can happen when eating or at seemingly random times throughout the day. Again, people do not consistently recognize the taste as a possibility of pregnancy. 9. Changes in Food Preferences This symptom varies from person to person, and some don’t experience it at all! You may crave certain foods; you may feel sick after certain foods; you can have a complete aversion to food altogether. Nutrition during pregnancy is important, and you should discuss this symptom with your doctor. [youmaylike] Rare Symptoms of Pregnancy Other symptoms that are rare but could affect you are: Heightened sense of smell. Heart palpitations. Increased saliva production (more drool). Nosebleeds. Swollen gums or tooth problems. More pimples or acne. Hot sweats. Are At-Home Pregnancy Tests Reliable? The sure-fire way to know if you are pregnant is to take an at-home test. These tests are reliable, and though false positives occur, it is rare. Always check the label, as different brands show different symbols to indicate pregnancy. The tests generally take a few minutes to develop, and digital tests can even display the word pregnant. When Should You Talk to a Doctor If You Think You’re Pregnant? If you suspect that you are pregnant, have a positive test result or are currently trying to get pregnant, the next step is to talk to your doctor. Your doctor will want to take a complete medical history, and if you are already pregnant, they may prescribe prenatal medication. The doctor can guide you on the steps throughout the pregnancy and lend an ear if you have any questions. It is vital to discuss everything with a medical professional. Your doctor is the gateway to an informed and happy pregnancy.

Follow These 8 Tips to Prevent Balding

Elizabeth Dickson | April 16, 2020

How to Prevent Balding If balding or thinning hair is one of your worries, we have got the solutions for you. In this article, we will chat about the symptoms of balding, the causes, how to prevent balding and how to cope with hair loss. Losing a few strands of hair every day is completely normal, but what do you do when you begin losing more hair than you should? According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), 80 million people in America have hereditary hair loss (alopecia). In addition, according to the American Hair Loss Association (AHLA), approximately 25% of men who have hereditary male pattern baldness start losing their hair before the age of 21. By the age of 50, about 85% of men are bald or have significantly thinner hair. 8 Ways to Prevent Balding If genetics is the reason for your hair loss, there might not be a lot that can be done to prevent it. However, these tips can help slow down or prevent loss if other reasons are causing it: Treat your hair gently and avoid pulling; use caution when washing, brushing and styling your hair. Avoid harsh treatments, such as coloring and perms. Protect your hair from the sun; wear a hat and avoid tanning beds. Quit smoking. Some studies suggest there is a link between balding and regular smoking. Eat a balanced diet rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Avoid hot showers and shampoo that causes scalp irritation. Talk to your doctor or dietician about supplements that may help slow down your hair loss. If you are getting treatments for cancer or taking a medication that causes hair loss as a side effect, speak to your doctor about getting a cold cap or other measures to prevent hair loss. If you try the above tactics and still feel that hair loss is negatively impacting your life, it is important to seek out medical advice. First, talk to your doctor about prescription or over-the-counter treatments for hair loss. Your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist who specializes in hair loss. Hair Loss Symptoms Hair loss can look different from person to person, depending on the severity and cause. However, here are some common symptoms to watch for. Slow and Consistent Loss of Hair Starting at the Top of the Head This is the most common form of hair loss. As you age, you can experience thinning of the hair on the top of your head, especially men. In men, this typically looks like a receding hairline or thinning hair or a thinning patch on top of the head. In women, this typically looks like the widening of the part of the hair, along with loss of hair around the forehead. Sudden Loss of Hair It's as if it has become loose from your scalp. Our bodies are extremely sensitive to changes and will work hard to cope with those changes. Therefore, environmental and emotional stress can cause you to lose handfuls of hair at a time. Thankfully, this type of hair loss is typically temporary and will stop once the stressors have been addressed. [youmaylike] Patches of Hair Loss All Over the Scalp With this type of hair loss, hair consistently falls out from the same spot on your scalp. This leaves your scalp with patches or circular spots of missing hair. Not only can this affect the hair on your head, but it can also leave patches of missing hair on your face, such as in your beard or eyebrows. Loss of Both Scalp and Body Hair This type of hair loss is less common than the others. It typically only affects individuals who are taking a strong medication or treatment, such as chemotherapy. The lost hair generally regrows with ease once the treatment has stopped. Causes of Hair Loss There are several reasons why you may experience hair loss, including: Hereditary and genetic factors. Hormonal and systemic body changes. Certain medications and medical conditions. Mechanical stress, such as consistent pulling on the hair. Emotional and environmental factors. Radiation exposure. Some degree of hair loss is entirely normal. Typically, you lose between 50 to 100 strands of hair per day. New hair strands grow at about the same rate, meaning that hair loss isn't generally noticeable until you have exceeded this number.

8 Symptoms of an Ectopic Pregnancy

Sinead Carey | April 16, 2020

Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy Pregnancy can be an exciting and life-changing event in a person’s life. However, it also comes with many risks and challenges. So, while focusing on the positive aspects of the process is important, you need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of possible complications, such as the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an ectopic pregnancy should be considered an emergency and is one of the leading causes of maternal death in the first trimester. Though the occurrence can be difficult to measure, the March of Dimes estimates that 1 in 50 pregnancies in the U.S. is ectopic. Considering that just under 4 million babies are born in the U.S. each year, this is a significant number of people suffering from it. Though this is something no one wants to think about, recognizing the signs of an ectopic pregnancy can mean the difference between life and death. What is an Ectopic Pregnancy? The word ectopic means “out of place.” Therefore, an ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg forms in the wrong place — in other words, outside of the womb. Most ectopic pregnancies are defined as “tubular” because more than 90% of ectopic cases happen in the fallopian tubes. In a normal pregnancy, the sperm and egg meet, become fertilized and travel down to attach to the lining of your womb. This is where your baby will grow for nine months. In a tubular pregnancy, the fertilized egg attaches to the fallopian tube before it manages to reach the womb. It is also possible for an ectopic pregnancy to occur in the ovary, cervix or even somewhere else in your belly. The problem is that these areas don’t have space or the environment to promote your baby’s growth. As a result, an ectopic pregnancy can cause heavy bleeding or a burst fallopian tube, which is potentially fatal to the mother. The unfortunate truth is that all ectopic pregnancies are non-viable and end in the loss of the pregnancy. 8 Signs of an Ectopic Pregnancy In some cases of ectopic pregnancy, the mother may not be aware that they are pregnant. However, signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy can start the same as signs of a normal pregnancy, so it is vital to be aware of them. Signs and symptoms include: Abnormal vaginal bleeding. Sudden pain in the abdomen or pelvis. Cramping pains in the pelvis. Lower back pain. Tender breasts. Nausea and vomiting. Dizziness and fainting spells. Shoulder pain. [youmaylike] Causes and Risk Factors It is still not known why some people suffer from ectopic pregnancies and others don’t. However, there are many risk factors known to increase your chances of having an ectopic pregnancy. Risk factors: Aged 35 years or older. Smoker. Previous ectopic pregnancy. Fertility treatments, such as IVF. Pelvic inflammatory disease. Scarring from prior pelvic surgery. Fertility drugs to treat infertility. Pregnancy while using an intrauterine device (IUD). Treatments Options There are two main approaches to the treatment of an ectopic pregnancy. Medication This form of treatment is less common and can only be done in certain situations. However, as an ectopic pregnancy is potentially fatal, it often requires rapid and comprehensive treatment. Medication can be effective if it is caught before the pregnancy is too far along. Your doctor will also ensure that there has been no rupture or immediate risk of a rupture. The primary medication used to treat ectopic pregnancies is methotrexate. This drug works by stopping the cells from growing. Your body will absorb the pregnancy over the course of a few weeks, and it does not require any surgery if it is successful. Surgery More often than not, emergency surgery is required. For example, in the event that your tube has ruptured, you will be required to undergo immediate surgery. This type of surgery is usually done laparoscopically, which is another word for keyhole surgery. The ectopic pregnancy is removed during surgery. In some cases, it may also be necessary to remove the ruptured fallopian tube. How to Seek Medical Help The main takeaway from this is that an ectopic pregnancy is an emergency, life-threatening situation. All of the symptoms listed above are cause for concern. If you experience severe, sudden abdominal pain accompanied by vaginal bleeding, dizziness or shoulder pain, you should seek help immediately. Likewise, if you suspect you may have an ectopic pregnancy, you should go to the emergency room without delay.