In the middle of the night, for some reason, and without any previous warning, the gout strikes – an intense pain in a joint, usually the big toe, but sometimes other joints, including ankles, knees, fingers, thumbs or elbows.
Those attacks of the gout can be excruciatingly painful and unexpected. With proper treatment, the inflammation and the pain usually is gone after a few days, but at any time they may recur.
More than 2 million Americans suffer from this pain. Gout happens more often in men that in women. Women usually develop the gout after menopause, while men between the ages of 30 and 50, and also it is rare in young adults and children. Men who are suffering from high blood pressure or who are overweight are at risk to get this disease, especially if they are taking water pills or thiazide diuretics.
Actually, the gout is a form of arthritis. It is the reaction of the body to those crystal deposits in the joints that may be irritant. The pain sometimes can be intense, but the treatment will reduce the pain. Some cases can be controlled with a diet. Recurring attacks of the gout might require long-term medication I order to prevent damage to the bones and cartilage and deterioration of the kidneys.
Chronic gout sufferers over time may feel hard, tiny lumps accumulation in the soft flesh of areas like the elbows, hands, ear lobes and feet. These deposits are named tophi, and they are concentrations of uric acid crystals and can cause stiffness and pain over time. If those deposits are formed in the kidneys, they can lead to potentially dangerous and painful kidney stones.
- What causes the gout?
The gout brings the excess of uric acid in the blood. The uric acid comes from 2 places – from the diet and produced by the body. Usually, the extra uric acid is filtered via the kidneys and goes in the urine. So, if the body fails to excrete the uric acid in the urine or produces too much uric acid, crystals of sodium urate form in the joints and tendons. These crystals cause intense inflammation that leads to redness and pain swelling.
What causes the gout to occur? The most common reason that increases the chance of gout attacks and gout is the excess consumption of alcohol, especially beer. This medical situation is well known as the disease of kings because it was mainly seen in those wealthy people who ate and drank too much. It can occur in anyone and can be connected with surgical procedures or injuries, stress periods, hospitalizations, or reaction to certain drugs like antibiotics or fatty meals.
Gout may also occur in the presence of some cancers or tumors. Also, there is a relation between gout and enzyme deficiencies, kidney disorders, and lead poisoning. Gout also might come together with psoriasis and also it is common in patients that have transplanted organs due to medications that are usually needed.
Susceptibility to gout is usually inherited and is associated with some other common illnesses like the diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. If the uric acid level in the body is not controlled, the repeated attacks of gout are common then.
Pseudogout is a very similar but less painful condition that is caused by calcium pyrophosphate crystals in the joints. It can affect the large toe, and is more usually seen in larger joints like the wrist, knee or ankle. The pseudogout is most common after age 60 in women and men, and is usually treated with anti-inflammatory agents.
3 Herbal Remedies for Gout
If you are suffering from gout attacks, then you should try herbal remedies. Some studies show that some medications have the risk of organ damage if they are used long time. These herbal remedies can help you to avoid this problem. There are several treatments to naturally avoid this disease. Some of them can help you when you are having an attack, and some of them can help you to reduce the likelihood of occurrence.
The devil’s claw or Harpagophytum procumbens, over the centuries has been used as an herbal treatment. This herb is very useful if you want to get rid of the gout because it is able to lower the uric acid in the body and helps flush out toxic waste. Some studies have shown that the devil’s claw has helped reduce the pain in patients that suffer from gout. The dosages varied among the studies.
The powerful devil’s claw has not only been used for reducing the pain from the gout, but it also brings relief to those people with rheumatoid arthritis, chronic lower back pain, and arthritis. One of the main reasons that this herb can be helpful to gout patients is that the gout is a form of arthritis.
The bilberry or European blueberry, for centuries has been used to help with many ailments, including the gout. Just like the blueberries, the bilberry also contains useful anthocyanins. Even though the bilberries are smaller than the blueberries, they have more anthocyanins per USDA anthocyanin rating chart. This is very important at the time of the actual gout attack, because the anthocyanins can help with the blood flow to your joints and that will help you to reduce the painful swelling.
Bilberries contain many antioxidants, although not as much as the blueberry. The antioxidants are very important and they can help reduce the occurrences or the intensity of the gout attacks. They do this by helping reduce uric acid levels. Because of the bilberry’s antioxidant and anthocyanin ability, it should be surely considered like a gout remedy. You can buy it as an herbal tea or supplement at the stores.
Most people don’t have problems taking bilberry, but you should consult with your doctor before taking this supplement. Some of the cautions about this herb are if you have diabetes. This herb can decrease the blood glucose levels in your body, so if you are prone to hypoglycemia, you must consider this before taking it.
Another thing that you should consider is if you have a bleeding problems because this herb can thin your blood. This also includes if you are on blood thinning medication like warfarin or better known as aspirin, Coumadin, heparin, NSAIDs, or any other supplements or medications that would add you a bleeding risk.
Nettle root or in German known as noedl, is one another herb that you can use to treat the gout. Nettle or also well known as stinging nettle for its painful sting upon touching can help you to lower the uric acid. It also contains vitamin C that many studies show that it can help to reduce the uric acid levels in your body when used on a consistent basis. One study even showed up to a 50 percent decrease.
Another benefit of taking nettle is the potassium. It takes the uric acid and puts it in the easier elimination form for the body, so you can take some other foods that are high in potassium like the bananas.
The nettle root is also diuretic and can alleviate the symptoms by getting the kidneys to excrete the excess acid. This is good on one hand, but on the other the dehydration in gout patients is not. So, drink plenty of water.
The nettle root is also a natural antihistamine and is helpful for the gout because it reduce the swelling. The nettle is also used to aid in treating open wounds. It can be used in infusion teas, soups and extracts. When the nettle is used in soups, the heat of the soup eliminates the stinging ability.
As with any other remedy, there are few things that you should consider before using, again seeking your physician’s advice. If you are diabetic or you are taking high blood pressure medication, consult first with your doctor before taking this herb.
While the nettle is diuretic because it contains potassium, you should not use it frequently without supplementing your diet with supplements or with potassium rich foods.