Gout is the
inflammation of the joints caused by too much uric acid in the system
What to look for
sudden, intense pain in a
joint usually the big toe
swelling, inflammation, and
a feeling that the joint is very hot.
unexpectedly and may recur
Without warning and, for some
reason, in the middle of the night, it strikes, an intense pain in a joint, most often the
big toe, but sometimes other joints, including knees, elbows, thumbs or fingers. Attacks
of gout can be unexpected and excruciatingly painful. The attacks may return without
notice in weeks, months or other intervals.
Gout usually strikes middle
aged men who are
overweight or suffering from high blood pressure.
Gout is the body's reaction
to irritating crystalline deposits in the space between the bones in a joint. In spite of
the extreme pain at onset, gout responds well to prompt treatment; mild cases may be
controlled by diet alone.
Chronic attacks of gout,
however, may require long-term medication to prevent damage to bone and cartilage, as well
as deterioration of the kidneys because of excess uric acid production.
Chronic gout sufferers may
feel tiny, crystals of uric acid slats settle in the joints, skin and kidneys. In the
kidneys, they can lead to painful and potentially dangerous
Gout is brought on by an
excessively high level of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is essential to the digestive
process, and the excess is filtered through the kidneys and eliminated in urine. If the
body produces too much uric acid or fails to excrete it, crystals of sodium urate become
concentrated in the joints and tendons, causing inflammation, pressure, and severe pain.
Factors that can cause this
a surgical procedure,
or reactions to alcohol and
certain drugs, including antibiotics.
Gout may also occur in the
presence of some tumours or cancers.
Gout may also accompany psoriasis or
Susceptibility to gout can be
inherited, and repeat attacks are common if the body's uric acid level is not kept under
To relieve the strong pain
associated with this disease is the first requirement. Any pressure on the affected joint
worsens the pain so it is advised to keep the joint bare.
You must keep the uric acid
levels under control to prevent continuous attacks. Ask your doctor for a suitable
treatment. You will need to go back for your doctor to monitor the levels of uric acid
If you do not have this
condition treated, you will do damage to your kidneys.
to treating gout begin with reducing the immediate pain and inflammation, then continue
with therapies to control excessive uric acid production.
Juniper oil is helpful if applied using a
compress to the affected area. Do not use this oil if you are pregnant, or if you have
liver or kidney disorders.
Rosemary can be used
in a compress or in massage oil. Do not use this essential oil if you are pregnant, epileptic or have
high blood pressure.
(see the Aromatherapy section for more
Herbal Therapy -
Drink an infusion of 2 tsp celery seed or Gravelroot in a cup of water, three times a
day, to stimulate elimination of uric acid. Speak with your Pharmacist or Naturopath about
taking charcoal tablets for this condition.
Mixed homoeopathic remedies may include dilute doses of Arnica,
Urtica urens, Benzoicum acidum, Lycopodium, and
Your doctor will probably
recommend that you cut out certain protein-rich foods. You should drink plenty of liquids
but avoid alcohol. You will need to remain within your recommended weight range.
Vegetarians rarely get this
disorder which goes to show that diets which include meat and animal fats are more likely
to cause gout.
Diets for preventing attacks
of gout in people showing a genetic vulnerability to the disease usually eliminate red
meat and meat extracts; yeast; organ meats; shellfish and certain kinds of preserved fish,
including sardines, herring, and anchovies.
Foods that appear to suppress
the immediate symptoms of gout include complex carbohydrates, particularly from cereals,
fruits, and leafy green vegetables. Simple carbohydrates, such as those in refined sugar,
are likely to increase uric acid production and should be avoided.
Several authorities report
favourable results in treating the pain of chronic gout by having patients eat fresh or
canned cherries or drink cherry juice.
Drinking plenty of clear,
non-alcoholic fluids (fresh fruit juices) - particularly good is celery juice, herbal
teas, or water helps to dilute the urine and promote excretion of uric acid through
continued flushing of the kidneys.
When to seek further