What is Gout ?

Gout is a form of arthritis which is caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in joints. In this condition, due to a metabolic dysfunction, there is deposition of uric acid in and around the joints causing severe painfulness, swelling and restricted mobility of the affected joint.

Causes:

The underlying cause of gout is a disturbance in Purine metabolism of the body. Purine is a substance found plenty in the living cells as well as in many food articles. Uric acid is a body waste product, which is produced in the body after the breakdown of Purine. Under excretion of uric acid through the kidneys and large intestines or excess formation of uric acid due to certain factors (such as alcohol, lack of physical activity, crash diet, meat, etc.) leads to accumulation of excess uric acid in the blood, eventually leading to Gout. The exact cause for the under excretion remains unknown in many cases, and it is believed to be more genetically determined.
Attacks of gouty arthritis can be precipitated when there is a sudden change in uric acid levels.

  • Overindulgence of alcohol and red meats

  • Trauma

  • Starvation and dehydration 

  • IV contrast dyes

  • Chemotherapy

  • Medications

  • Diuretics and some other hypertensive medications

  • Aspirin

  • Nicotinic acid

  • Cyclosporin A

  • Allopurinol and probenecid

  • Others

Symptoms:

Gout is an intensely painful condition, which mostly affects only one joint (monoarthritis) at a time, most commonly the big toe. However, Gout may also affect elbows, knees, ankles, wrists or small joints of the hands and feet. The classic history in a patient suffering from Gout is of excruciating and sudden pain, swelling, redness, warmth and stiffness of the joint. Low-grade fever may also be present. The skin overlying the joint can also be swollen, tender and sore if it is touched even lightly. Patients with longstanding hyperuricemia (high levels of uric acid in blood) can have uric acid crystal deposits called tophi in other tissues as well, e.g. the helix of the ear.

Kidney stones are more frequent in patients with gout. Uric acid crystals can form outside joints. Collections of these crystals, known as tophi, can be found in the earlobe, elbow, and Achilles tendon (back of the ankle). Typically, these tophi are not painful but can be a valuable clue for the diagnosis.

Gout has four distinct stages:

  • Asymptomatic: High levels of Uric acid in blood but no joint complaints

  • Acute phase: Acute complaints described above occur for a brief period

  • Intercritical phase: There is no pain or swelling of joints in this phase, the patient is relatively symptom-free.

  • Chronic: Gout attacks may become frequent during this phase and the condition may affect many joints at a time (polyarticular).Tophi formation may also be seen.

Suggestion about homoeopathic treatment:

Having understood that Gout is caused by the constitutional factors, it calls for constitutional approach towards its treatment. The constitutional approach involves evaluation of the individual factors inclusive of one's personal and family history (ascertaining the genetic tendency), while planning a long-term treatment. Homeopathic approach to Gout treatment is moreofa totalistic approach. Homeopathy helps in controlling the pain during the acute attack of gout as well as helps in preventing the recurrence of such episodes. It helps in reducing stiffness and improves the mobility of the joints. Homeopathy is very strongly suggested for the treatment of Gout.