What Does Gout Feel Like?
If you have gout, you will experience pain that is different from any other type of arthritis. Gout is more common in men, but women can get it too. I have gout in my big toe. I experience burning pain quite frequently, and I can’t even wear a show, because even a slipper touching my toe in the area where the gouty arthritis is will cause extreme pain. It feels almost like you are exposed to flames and you can’t get away from it.
Gouty arthritis is caused by an excess of uric acid in the blood stream. For most people, excess uric acid in the blood isn’t a problem. However, in my case and in lots of other people, the uric acid filters out of the blood and crystallizes within the joints. Some days I can barely walk due to the pain in my toe, the surrounding area and in my ankles.
Who is susceptible to developing gout? Obese people are more likely to develop gout than people who aren’t overweight. Also, individuals who eat a fair amount of meat and fish in their diets can also become more susceptible to developing gouty arthritis than someone who eats more veggies and fruits and less animal protein. Also, certain medications – especially diuretics – can also make you more susceptible to developing gout. I have all the strikes against me. I’m overweight, eat animal protein and I take a water pill to control my blood pressure.
Uric acid can crystallize in any of your joints. Many people get gouty arthritis in their knees, as well as their ankles and toes. I have it also in my hips, so it is sometimes an ordeal getting out of my computer chair. I have to get up at least once an hour or I might get stuck in my chair and will have to have someone help me to get out of it.
To diagnose you with gout, your doctor will most likely take a sample of fluid from your joint. The reason for this test is to look for uric acid crystals in the fluid there. These crystals are microscopic but they feel like pieces of glass or bone fragments scratching the inside of your joints. Over time, uric acid crystals can cause damage to your surrounding tissues and the tendons in the area.
I don’t get a lot of pain unless I am having an attack of gout. When the pain strikes, it rages on for many hours. Most people can be relieved with NSAID medications, such as Ibuprofen, Advil, and other anti-inflammatory drugs. Sometimes, the swelling and inflammation can get bad enough that the doctor will order some steroids to get you over the inflammatory phase of the attack. I cannot take any anti-inflammatory drugs due to having kidney problems, so the most I can take is Tylenol for the pain.
I saw my doctor about this, and she advised that I change my diet before she tries putting me on any medication. Since I have kidney problems, she doesn’t want to introduce any new medications. My kidney function is within normal limits right now, but it tends to change with certain medications.
The key to reducing the symptoms of gout is to reduce the amount of certain chemicals in the blood, called purines. The best way to reduce the amount of purines is to limit the animal proteins eaten, specifically red meats and shellfish. Losing weight will also help. Lately, I’ve been watching the amount of red meat that I eat. I’ve been chicken and eggs. I’ve noticed that I still have pain, but I don’t think the attacks are as long or as terribly painful as before. Time will truly tell if my pain will be totally relieved.