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Gout - is a systemic disease caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints of the body, causing inflammation, ...
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Joint Inflammation

Gout is a systemic disease caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints of the body, causing inflammation, swelling and pain.

You wake up in the middle of the night, and your big toe feels as if it's on fire. It's hot, swollen and so tender that the weight of the blanket on it is nearly intolerable.

If so, you might be experiencing an acute attack of gout - or gouty arthritis - a form of arthritis that's characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness and tenderness in joints.

Ayurveda & you
High uric acid can cause gouty arthritis

Dr R. Vatsyayan

Gout is a systemic disease and also one of the common forms of arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acid in the joints. Centuries ago Acharya Charaka, while writing his famous compendium, devoted a separate chapter to it.

Known as "vata rakta" or "vata shonitam" in ayurvedic parlance, gout affects mostly men between the age of 30 and 50 years and is seen very rare in women until after the menopause.

Causes and risk factors: Ayurveda believes that it is the dietary indiscretion, faulty lifestyle and to some extent genetic predisposition which are responsible for the occurrence of this disease. The dietary reasons include excessive use of food articles which are predominantly acidic, bitter and salty in taste and hot and unctuous in effect. High intake of non-vegetarian food consisting of red meat and fish, idiosyncrasy with regard to even vegetarian diet of peas, lentils and beans and regularly taking eatables which are incompatible upset the metabolic process, raising uric acid in the body.

People who are either easy-going, obese, given to sedentary lifestyle or careless about their diet and proper daily schedule are more prone to get gout in their life. Regular use of alcohol and its accessory diet of rich protein additionally contribute the building up uric acid in the body. Some ayurveda scholars have aptly described gout as "adhya vata", meaning a disease occurring among the opulent sections of society. Aspirin and some of the diuretics and antihypertensive drugs may also interfere with the body’s ability to excrete the uric acid.

Types of gout: Ayurvedic texts have described gout as of two types — superficial and deep. In fact, these are the stages of the same disease process. The first stage is the milder one and is marked by abnormal perspiration, hyper pigmentation, vague body aches, feeling of exaggerated pain on injury, boils and carbuncles, laxity in joints and easy fatigability. The second type relates to the stage when actual gout sets in with pain and inflammation in the joints.

Modern medicine also refers to different stages of gout. The asymptomatic hyperuricemia is a condition when a person has an elevated level of uric acid in the blood, but no other symptoms. The acute stage refers to a condition when there is severe pain and swelling in the joints.

Signs and symptoms: Over a period uric acid in the blood crystallizes and settles in the joint spaces causing inflammation and stiffness. This leads to a sudden and acute attack commonly occurring at night which is marked by intense pain, tenderness and swelling in the big toe or the ankle joint. Most of the time the acute attack is triggered by the intake of wrong diet, alcohol and stressful conditions. Fever, sweating, loss of appetite, malaise, constipation and scanty and dark-colored urine are common accompaniments of the acute attack. Initially, these attacks subside within three to 10 days and the next attack may not appear for a long time.

Later, these attacks can last longer and occur more frequently, and a stage is reached where remissions between them are incomplete and there is persistent pain and stiffness in the joint. An increase in the uric acid level supported by wrong diet can also result in the formation of stones not only in the urinary tract but also in the gall bladder. Gradually gout becomes polyarticular — the ankle, hands and wrist get affected first and then the knees, elbows and hips. But proper and adequate treatment can prevent the disease from progressing to this advanced stage.

Arthritis, gouty > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

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