Gout refers to a certain form of inflammation of the joints and swellings of a recurrent type.
Although chronic in character, it breaks in acute attacks. It is a disease of the wealthy and chiefly
affects middle-aged men. Women, after menopause, are also sometimes affected by this
Gout was known to the physicians of ancient Greece and Rome. The classical description was
written in 1663 by Sydenham, himself a life-long sufferer , who clearly differentiated it from other
joint disorders. It was recognised in the 18th century that large enjoyable meals and the
consumption of alcoholic drinks were often the prelude to an attack of gout. This disease
affected many famous men in history, including Alexander the Great, Luther, Newton, Milton, Dr.
Johnson, Franklin and Louis XIV.
Cause of Gout:
The chief cause of gout is the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints, skin and kidneys. Uric
acid is an end product of the body’s chemical processes. Those affected by gout have a higher
level of uric acid than the normal, due either to the formation of increased or reduced amounts of
acid being passed out by the kidneys in the urine. This uric acid usually remains dissolved in the
blood. But when the blood becomes too full of it, the uric acid forms needle-shaped crystals in
the joints which bring about attacks of gout.
Heredity is an important factor in causing this disease and certain races are prone to gout. Other
causes include excessive intake of alcoholic drinks, regular eating of foods rich in protein and
carbohydrates and lack of proper exercise. Stress is also regarded as an important cause of
gout. During the alarm reaction, millions of body cells are destroyed and large quantities of uric
acid freed from these cells enter the tissues after being neutralised by sodium.
Symptoms of gout:
An attack of gout is usually accompanied by acute pain in the big toe, which becomes tender,
hot and swollen in a few hours. Usually, it is almost impossible to put any weight on the affected
foot during the acute stage of the disease. It may also similarly affect other joints such as the
knees, and the wrists, and sometimes more than one joint may be affected at a time. The attack
usually occurs at midnight or in the early hours of the morning, when the patient is suddenly
awakened. The acute attack generally lasts for a week or so. During this period the patient may
run a slight fever, and feel disinclined to eat. His general health generally remains unaffected.
The attack may occur again after several weeks or months. The interval becomes shorter if the
disease is not treated properly. The joint generally becomes damaged by arthritis. This is chronic
gout, in which chalky lumps of uric acid crystals remain in the joint and also form under the skin.
Another serious complication of gout is kidney stones containing uric acid, causing severe colic
pains in the stomach.
In some cases the kidneys become damaged and do not function properly. This is a serious
condition as the poisonous waste products which are normally removed by the kidneys
accumulate in the blood.
Treatment of Gout:
For an acute attack, there is no better remedy than a fast. The patient should undertake a fast
for five to seven days on orange juice and water. Sometimes the condition may worsen in the
early stages of fasting when uric acid, dissolved by juices, is thrown into the bloodstream for
elimination. This usually clears up if fasting is continued. In severe cases, it is advisable to
undertake a series of short fasts for three days or so rather than one long fast. A warm water
enema should be used daily during the period of fasting to cleanse the bowels.
After the acute symptoms of gout have subsided, the patient may adopt an all-fruit diet for a furter three or four days. In this regimen, he should have three meals a day of juicy fruits such as grapes, apples, pears, peaches, oranges and pineapple. After the all-fruit diet, the patient may gradually embark upon the following diet :
Breakfast : Fruits such as oranges, apples, figs, apricot, mangoes, whole wheat bread or dalia
and milk or butter-milk.
Lunch : Steamed vegetables such as lettuce, beets, celery, water-cress, turnips,squash,
carrots, tomatoes, cabbage and potatoes, chappatis of whole wheat flour, cottage cheese and
Dinner : Sprouts such as alfalfa and mung beans, a good-sized salad of raw vegetables such as
carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, whole wheat bread and butter.
Treating the infection with antibiotics, is so effective that drug can relieve both the acute symptoms and prevent further attacks. Before starting treatment the doctor may want to do a blood test to measure the uric acid.
The acute attack is treated with various drugs. These drugs control inflammation and should relieve the symptoms quickly, often within a couple of days. If attacks are frequent, the joints have been damaged by gout, there are obvious tophi or the blood levels of uric are very high.
Home Remedy for Gout
Advice on Gout Arthritis -
1. It would be wise for affected people not to over-indulge in alcohol and the foods rich in primes.
2. Obese people should lose weight.
Other Types of Arthritis
Treatment of Arthritis