What is gout ?
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 disease.
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 recognized 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. Gout is very common in New Zealand and it is particularly common in Maoris and Pacific Islanders. Some surveys have shown it to be present in up to 10% of adult males.
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. Gout usually develops in the joint of the first toe. Common signs and symptoms include the following :-
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 carbohydrate 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 neutralized by sodium.
Home Remedies for Gout
The cherry, sweet or sour, is considered an effective remedy for gout. This was discovered by Dr Ludwig W. Blan some forty years ago. Himself a gout sufferer, Blan found the use of cherries to be miraculously effective in his own case, and he published his own experience in a medical journal. Subsequently many people with gout used this simple therapy with great success. To start with, the patient should consume about fifteen to twenty five cherries a day. Thereafter, about ten cherries a day will keep the ailment under control. While fresh cherries are best, canned cherries can also be used with success. Helps to cure gout.
2. Vegetable Juices
Raw vegetable juices are protective against gout. Carrot juice, in combination with the juices of beet and cucumber, is especially valuable. Beet juice – 100 ml and cucumber juice – 100 ml should be mixed with 300 ml of carrot juice to make 500 ml of combined juice and taken daily.
3. French Beans
The juice of French or string beans has also proved effective in the treatment of gout. About 150 ml of this juice should be taken daily by the patient suffering from this disease.
Apples are regarded as an excellent medicine for gout. The malic acid contained in them is believed to neutralize the uric acid and afford relief to the sufferers. The patient is advised to take one apple after each meal.
Bananas have been found beneficial in the treatment of gout. A diet of bananas only for three or four days is advised. A patient can take eight or nine bananas daily during this period and nothing else.
Lime is also used as a remedy in gout vitamin C is known to prevent and cure sore joints by strengthening the connective tissues of the body. The citric acid found in lime is a solvent of the uric acid which is the primary cause of this disease. The juice of half a lime, squeezed into a glass of water, should be taken twice daily.
Prevention is the best defense against gout. Some common gout prevention measures are :-
- Drink plenty of fluids (especially water).
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy diet and healthy body weight.
- See a physician regularly.