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One night I woke up to a sharp stabbing pain in my big toe!! I snapped on the light and my toe was red, swollen and so tender even the sheet was too much.
Did you know right then you had a gout attack?
I think I suspected it but honestly it hurt too much to think!
If you're unfamiliar with gout that's because until recently it's been a disease of the European aristocracy of centuries past.
The causes are everything from obesity, longer life span to the widespread use of diuretics and aspirin.
Gout, also called crystal arthritis, is a complex disorder from the accumulation of uric acid crystals in your joints.
You get uric acid when your body metabolizes food containing high levels of purines such as mushrooms, asparagus and anchovies.
Usually uric acid is dissolved in the blood, disposed of by the kidney and excreted in the urine.
But if you ingest too much of it or if you can't get rid of it, sharp needle like crystals can form in joints which is what happened to me.
Gout attacks almost always happen suddenly, at night and usually affect your big toe but can occur in your feet, ankles, knees, hands and wrists.
The pain typically lasts five to 10 days and then gradually goes away in one to two weeks, leaving the joint apparently normal and pain-free.
Some risk factors for gout include being thirty or more pounds overweight; a diet high in meats, seafood and alcohol; and men are more likely to develop gout than women until after menopause.
Changes in diet alone may or may not be effective. Medicines like Probenecid and allopurinol may help. If you think you have gout, see your doctor and get tested for the level of uric acid in your body.
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