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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Podagra (gout), a painful swell

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By Ebrima Jobarteh

The human body is designed in a way to control the levels of all the elements that are needed for it to sustain life.  Elements or components such as glucose, amino acids, fats, cholesterol, etc., are kept under radar to ensure that they do not exceed their normal physiologic limits.

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When these elements exceed their limits, they could cause damage to the fine mechanism of some of the body’s metabolism.   Podagra (commonly referred to as gout) is the most common arthropathy (disease that affects the joints).

It appears as a red tender bulge on the joints of the fingers, ankle, knee, toe, heels, fingers and wrist.  However, the most common area affected is the right great toe.The human body is designed in a way to control the levels of all the elements that are needed for it to sustain life.  Elements or components such as glucose, amino acids, fats, cholesterol, etc., are kept under radar to ensure that they do not exceed their normal physiologic limits.

When these elements exceed their limits, they could cause damage to the fine mechanism of some of the body’s metabolism.   Podagra (commonly referred to as gout) is the most common arthropathy (disease that affects the joints).  It appears as a red tender bulge on the joints of the fingers, ankle, knee, toe, heels, fingers and wrist.  However, the most common area affected is the right great toe.Podagra results when there is a high amount of uric acid in the blood.

Uric acid is a product of purine metabolism.  When there is high amount of uric acid in blood (i.e. hypereuricemia) due to either excess purine metabolism and/or ineffective removal of Uric acid from the body, Uric acid crystallizes in the form of monosodium urate crystals.  These crystals accumulate in the joints of the body and appear as intensely red and tender swells.

What are the symptoms of Podagra?  

Aside from the redness and tenderness, Podagra patients experience an intense pain, fluid discharge from the site and a feeling of heat in the joint affected area.  This pain makes it difficult the patients to walk normally.   The latent period of Podagra varies from a few days to months depending on the severity of the disease.

Who are those likely to get Podagra?

Although Podagra is fairly common in the society, there are a particular group of people who are most likely to be affected.  These are men and obese people.  Men are at high risk of suffering from Podagra than women because men have higher uric acid levels than women.

However, women tend to develop higher levels of uric acid than men after menopause probably beyond the ages of 45 and 50.  Obese people have high risk of Podagra because they have high deposit of fat under their skin.  This accumulation of fats can cause their blood vessels to constrict which increases the risk of atherosclerosis greater in them.  Constriction of the vessels impedes the movement of uric acid.  Uric acid settles down at one place and solidifies thus causing gout.

Why is gout common? 

The answer to this question is linked to our lifestyle dietary consumption.  The foods we eat contribute a lot to our chances of having gout.  One prominent example is protein.  Proteins play a major role in building body tissue such as bones and muscles.  However, excess consumption of some proteins can be harmful.  The reason for this is they contain high amounts of Purines.  Hence, excess consumption of those proteins contributes immensely to the purine stores which have to be degraded to uric acids.

Foods to avoid for Podagra

1. Herrings, Tuna, Anchovies, sardines, mackerel, mussels, codfish, trout, haddock and scallops

2. Red meat e.g., Pork, bacon, beef and lamb

3. Turkey and goose

4. Organ meats e.g., liver, kidneys, brain

5. Asparagus, cauliflower, spinach

6. Beer

Foods to have for Podagra

1. Shrimps, lobsters, eel and crabs.

Podagra (gout), a painful swell

2. Chicken and duck

3. Coffee

4. Fruits especially citrus fruit

5. Water

First Aid for PodagraPodagra

is a serious disease and therefore, needs urgent treatment.  So, here are a few tips that can help someone who is suffering from Podagra to reduce the swell and subsequently get healing.Ø Wrap a tight cloth around the swell in order to minimize or stop the movement of the joint.

This is because movement of the joint (i.e. the affected area) causes pain.Ø Apply ice on the swell frequently in order to reduce the size of the swell.Ø Raise your legs above the chest level when resting.Ø And most importantly, drink a lot of water.

Medical aid for PodagraIn

situations where the swell is serious and paining intensely than normal, it is advised to visit the nearest health facility.  The medications employed by the health facility to treat Podagra are mostly based on Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).  These drugs as the name suggests are substances that stop the inflammation and reduce pain at the joint.  These drugs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and indomethacin.  Drugs such as allopurinol are highly potent in the prevention of podagra.

Allopurinol is a suicidal inhibitor of Xanthine Oxidase (the enzyme required for the formation of uric acid which is the product of purine degradation).    Allopurinol also serves to lower the levels of uric acid in the blood.

Final say

Podagra (i.e. gout) is a great concern in the society we live in.

With that in mind, individuals suffering from gout should seek treatment in order to avoid major complication that could result from the disease.  I hope that this article would not just stop at you dear reader, but will resonate the entire perimeter of the globe in order to raise awareness about the disease with full intent to save lives.

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