An Overview of Gout in Seniors
Gout for a long time may be asymptomatic. However, after exposure to a provoking factor (overeating, alcohol abuse, wearing tight shoes), specific symptoms develop that cannot be confused with another disorder.
Gender: In the male population, the disease is more common. Gout in women mostly develops after 40 years, when menopause occurs;
Hereditary factor: About 20% of patients have a genetic predisposition to the development of the disorder. This reason explains the occurrence of gout in childhood;
The use of drugs: Uncontrolled intake of thiazide diuretic drugs, Aspirin, Nicotinic acid, Pyrazinamide provokes the development of the disease;
Overweight: Doctors have identified a clear link between obesity and the accumulation of urates in the tissues;
Age: Gout usually develops in middle-aged men suffering from obesity, hypertension, and alcohol abuse. After 50 years, the disease occurs with the same frequency in women and men due to impaired kidney function, and frequent diuretic usage;
Alcoholic beverages: Ethanol leads to increased production of uric acid by the body, as well as reduces the ability of the kidneys to remove it from the body. Most often, pathology develops in people who regularly consume beer.
An attack of gout is characterized by the development of the below symptoms:
Severe pain syndrome. Pain usually occurs at night, leading to immobilization of the entire hand or foot. The use of painkillers does not bring relief;
Inflammation and redness in the affected area;
Increase in body temperature to 39-40º?.
Diagnostic measures should include the below examinations:
A blood test to determine the level of urates in the bloodstream;
The sampling of tissue or intraarticular fluid to determine the presence of needle crystals of uric acid salts. The procedure is painful, therefore it is performed only under local anesthesia;
X-ray. The study helps to determine the specific damage to the joints characteristic of gout, the presence of tophi.
In the absence of treatment, the disease progresses and causes the development of the below signs:
Tofus. This pathological formation is a painless bump under the skin, which is formed as a result of the accumulation of urates. Tofus can open up on its own after 5-6 years, in which case a white curd mass stands out from the wound;
Deformity of the joint. Uric acid salts provoke persistent deformation (subluxation) and restriction of joint mobility. With prolonged gout, patients need a cane to move;
Pathology of the kidneys. An increased level of urates leads to impaired renal function. They are not able to remove an excess amount of crystals. Therefore, uric acid salts accumulate in the kidneys in the form of sand or stones.
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