Gout is not just a disease of the joints. It is a disease that causes inflammation in the joints and in the body. Gout is not just a pain in the toe; it affects other organs too, including the heart. Gout has been known to increase the risks of cardiovascular disease and premature death.
It has been determined that people whose uric acid levels are elevated are more susceptible to developing gout and facing death because of it. Men are at the next risk of developing arthritis than ladies. Some of the factors that can lead to gout are diet, genetic predisposition, and common medical conditions like hypertension, obesity, renal insufficiency, and heart failure.
One should consult their physician about the following if they happen to have gout:
• Kidney stones and kidney disease
Kidney disease may either lead to gout and vice-versa. Damage to the kidneys inhibits their ability to filter acid or as a result from gout, uric acid crystals may damage the kidneys. Just as joint pain occurs when uric acid crystals deposit in the joints, similarly kidney stones develop when uric acid crystals are deposited in the kidneys and hence, block the urinary tract. If left untreated, kidney stones can cause kidney infections and even cause further damage.
People with gout, especially women, are at a higher risk of diabetes. It is a result of low-level inflammation from gout as well as other risk factors like high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
• Sleep disorders
Apnea is characterized by frequent pauses in respiration. Disrupted sleep is not the only effect of sleep apnea; it can also increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart attack and high blood pressure. Pauses in breathing cause periods of oxygen deprivation, which in turn can trigger uric acid to be overproduced in the blood that is the primary cause of gout.
• Cardiovascular disease
People with gout have a higher incidence of clinical heart failure and echocardiographic measures of systolic dysfunction. This impairs the ability of the heart’s ventricles to contract as compared to those who do not have a gouty condition. Women with gout are more susceptible to a heart attack as compared to men with gout.
Gout is not a benign disease. Gout is related to a considerably multiplied risk of bound cancers, particularly prostate cancer in men. Interestingly, ladies with arthritis had a rather reduced risk of carcinoma. Having gout can mean more than having to endure painful attacks of joint inflammation at times.
In order to live the longest and healthiest life despite having gout, here’s what you can do:
- Take proper medication for gout in a timely manner.
- Test regularly for co-morbid conditions.
- Reduce your weight to a healthy level and try to maintain it.
- Maintain a regular exercise regime.
- Follow a healthy and nutritious diet that is gout-friendly
The first attack of gout should be a wake-up call to anyone. Regardless of the urate concentration, its severity, frequency or extent, the first attack of gout should prompt a complete health checkup, lifestyle reassessment and in the case of men and women younger than 50 years, a complete renal assessment too.
One should not ignore any symptoms related to gout, as it can be life-threatening, to say the least. Gout has been known to be the root cause of premature death and the numbers have not decreased over the years. Hence, following a healthy diet and maintaining a good lifestyle is of utmost importance. Therefore, do not ignore that slight ache in your big toe and treat your gout today.