While gout had been commonly thought of as an old man’s disease, medical professionals have been seeing a rise in young Singaporeans being diagnosed with gout. If left untreated, gout may result in severe joint injury and arthritis, impeding movement.
Learn more about what causes gout, and what you can do to prevent or treat it.
What is Gout?
Gout is a type of arthritis that affects your joints. It typically starts with the big toe joint, although can attack any joints in your limbs.
Causes of Gout
Gout occurs when there is too much uric acid in your body. Uric acid is produced when your body breaks down purine, which is a chemical compound found in foods such as red meats, seafood and alcohol.
When there is excess uric acid in your blood, the uric acid turns into crystals which accumulate in your joints. This is responsible for the inflammation and pain in your joints during a gout attack.
Risk Factors of Gout:
- Diet: Over-eating purine-rich food can lead to an increase in uric acid in your body, raising your risk of gout. Excessive alcohol consumption, especially beer, can also put you at risk.
- Weight: Obesity is a risk factor for gout, as it decreases your body’s ability to break down uric acid.
- Existing Medical Conditions: Having other chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, may increase your risk of gout.
Symptoms of Gout
Most individuals only know that they have gout after their first gout attack. Gout attacks usually happen suddenly at night. The symptoms may last for a few days to a few weeks, depending on the severity of the gout attack.
Signs of a Gout Attack:
- Intense joint pain
- Swelling and inflammation of the affected joint
- Decreased range of motion in the affected joint
- Lingering discomfort in the affected joint
Treatment for Gout
Gout can be easily managed with medication and healthy lifestyle habits.
Medication for gout usually tackles two problems: 1) to relieve gout pain; 2) to prevent future gout attacks. There are various types of medication that the doctor can prescribe you for both. Speak to the doctor about your suitability for prescription.
Your doctor will also likely recommend healthy changes in your lifestyle, to reduce the chances of future gout attacks. This includes working towards a healthy weight, exercising more regularly and eating a healthier diet.
Healthy lifestyle changes are the best way to prevent the onset of gout.
- Eat a balanced diet, including lots of fruits and vegetables and avoiding purine-high foods
- Hydrate regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
- Stop smoking
Early detection of gout can also help to prevent your condition from worsening. Get screened for gout without leaving the comfort of your own home, with Doctor Anywhere’s home-based screening packages.
Speak to a doctor anytime over the DA app. Our doctors are available 24/7, with medication delivery within 3 hours.