There is no scientific reason for it, nor a cure or a supplement that can heal those suffering from the concentrated and intense pain of gout.
For some, the pain of stubbing a toe does not compare to the mind searing pain that is experienced because of gout. Gout is a type of rheumatoid arthritis caused by uric acid build-up in the joints causing stiffness and swelling. For those who suffer with the unruly attacks of gout, or gouty arthritis, the intense pain can last days, weeks or even months at a time.
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disease, gout occurs in about 28 percent of the American population.
“It hurts so bad I cannot even stand putting a sheet on me,” said long-time sufferer Edker Sexton. “It’s the worst pain I (have) ever felt, feels worse than any broken bone.”
Often called the disease of kings or the rich man’s disease because of its association with upscale foods, gout is a painful medical condition that plagues men and women. Foods such as liver, asparagus, mushrooms, beef, pork, oatmeal and beer are high-purine foods that gout sufferers should avoid. Although eating these foods does not cause a person to have gout, they can trigger attacks in those that suffer from the condition.
“In the U.S., gout is twice as likely to occur in African Americans than in European Americans,” said podiatrist at Friendly Footcare, Dr. Michael Nirenburg. “Other medical problems that are associated with high uric acid include diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.”
Moreover, gout is characterized by swollen, red, hot and stiff joints as reported by Medline Plus. The signs, symptoms and physical ailments of the effects of gout differentiate per individual. For some, the outward appearance is worse than the internal pain. Ulcers may appear on the ear, toes or knees when a person is having a gout flare up. Walking may be difficult and a feeling of fatigue and fever accompany the pain.
“I have tried a diet and different medicines, but I still get it anyway, so I just started eating what I felt like,” said Sexton. “I don’t get sores, but sometimes it swells up as big as a baseball and it gets really red in the area where you have the flare up. It feels really hot when you touch it.”
The medical condition can affect multiple joints, from feet and ankles, to fingers, wrists, knees and elbows, and has no set joint in which it will occur. Most commonly, gout affects the hallux, the medical term for the big toe.
“The pain often occurs in the big toe and it can be sharp, intense, burning, and/or throbbing. It often starts in the middle of the night, waking the person up from their sleep,” said Dr. Nirenburg.
While gout in women isn’t common, new studies conducted by Indy.md show women acquire the condition because of obesity, high blood pressure and alcohol consumption. Although gout in men appears around the time of puberty and peaks at 75, it generally shows up in women after menopause.
While there is no cure for gout, said Nirenburg, several different medications and steroids have been prescribed by physicians to address the high uric acid levels in the blood stream.
During gout flare-ups, taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as Aleve or Advil will help control the pain. Changes in the diet and exercising regularly, all while maintaining a healthy lifestyle, is suggested by physicians to reduce the flare-ups of gout.
Diet is the controllable focus of someone who has gout, said Nirenburg. “Changing the things that you consume on a daily basis and avoiding pork and lobster, both high in uric acid, will help to control the gout flare-ups.”
What is gout?
Gout is a disorder mainly affecting men in which excess uric acid is produced and deposited in the joints, causing painful swelling, especially in the hands and feet.