Understanding Gout in Singapore: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

KEY TAKEAWAY POINTS

  • Gout is caused by the accumulation of urate crystals in the joints, due to high levels of uric acid in the blood.
  • The primary symptoms of gout are sudden, intense joint pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness, most often affecting the big toe.
  • Management of gout includes medications to reduce inflammation and pain (such as NSAIDs, corticosteroids, and colchicine)

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Gout is a common and complex form of arthritis that can affect anyone. It’s characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in the joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe. Understanding gout is essential for those who suffer from it.

What is Gout?

Gout occurs when urate crystals accumulate in your joints, causing the inflammation and intense pain of a gout attack. Urate crystals can form when you have high levels of uric acid in your blood. Your body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines, substances found naturally in your body and in certain foods.
gout in Singapore

Causes of High Uric Acid Levels

The development of high uric acid can result from several factors, which can be lifestyle-related or genetic. Key contributors include:

  • Diet: Consuming a diet rich in meat and seafood, alcoholic beverages, and drinks sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose).
  • Obesity: Carrying excess weight increases the risk of gout as it reduces the rate of excretion of uric acid through the kidneys.
  • Medical conditions: Certain diseases and conditions, including high blood pressure and chronic conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease, can increase susceptibility.
  • Family history: If other members of your family have had gout, you’re more likely to develop the disease.
  • Age and sex: Gout affects men more than women, particularly men between the ages of 30 and 50.

gout diet

Symptoms of Gout

Gout symptoms might come suddenly and without warning. The most common symptoms include:

  • Intense joint pain: Gout usually affects the large joint of your big toe, but it can occur in any joint. Other commonly affected joints include the ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, and fingers.
  • Prolonged discomfort: After the most severe pain subsides, joint discomfort might last from a few days to a few weeks.
  • Inflammation and redness: The affected joint becomes swollen, tender, warm, and red.
  • Limited range of motion: As gout progresses, you may not be able to move your joints normally.

Diagnosing Gout

Diagnosing gout involves a review of your medical history, a physical examination, and tests. While tests are not necessary for one to come to a diagnosis of gout, they might include:

  • Joint fluid test: Where fluid is drawn from your affected joint and examined under a microscope for urate crystals.
  • Blood test: To measure the levels of uric acid and creatinine in your blood.
  • Ultrasound or X-ray imaging: To detect urate crystals in joints or cartilage.

Managing and Treating Gout

While gout can significantly impact your quality of life, managing it with medication and lifestyle changes can alleviate pain and prevent future attacks:

  • Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), colchicine, and corticosteroids can help reduce inflammation and pain. Medications like allopurinol can lower blood uric acid levels.
  • Lifestyle modifications: Limiting intake of alcoholic beverages and fructose-rich drinks, as well as reducing consumption of meat and seafood, can help manage the condition.
  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of fluids helps flush uric acid from your body.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Weight loss can decrease the load on your joints and reduce the frequency of attacks.

gout treatment in Singapore

Preventing Gout

Prevention of gout is focused on maintaining good eating habits and a healthy lifestyle to prevent high levels of uric acid. It includes:

  • Dietary changes: Emphasize low-purine foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol: Especially beers or distilled liquors.
  • Drink plenty of fluids: Staying hydrated helps reduce the risk of crystal formation.

Conclusion

Gout is a treatable condition, and with the right management strategies, individuals can enjoy a healthy, active life without the pain gout can cause. Understanding the factors that contribute to high levels of uric acid in your body and the symptoms that may occur can help you better manage this painful condition. If you suspect you have gout, you can consult with our doctors at Eiddwen Family Medicine Clinic who can recommend a treatment plan suited to your specific needs.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is gout?
Gout is a type of arthritis characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in one or more joints, most commonly the big toe.
What causes gout?
Gout is caused by an accumulation of urate crystals in the joints, which occurs when there is a high level of uric acid in the blood. This can result from consuming foods high in purines.
What foods should I avoid if I have gout?
Avoid foods that are high in purines such as red meat, organ meats, some seafood including anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout, and tuna, alcoholic beverages especially beer, and foods and drinks high in fructose.
What treatments are available for gout?
Gout can be treated with medications that reduce inflammation, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, and colchicine. Medications like allopurinol and febuxostat can help reduce uric acid levels.