Gout is a painful form of arthritis characterized by very large joint pain and caused by the presence of too much uric acid in the blood and tissues. In the past, it was considered the disease of rich people, because they consumed a lot of venison, rich in purines. Nowadays, the disease mainly affects men (in the 40-50 age group the risk is three or four times higher than for women), being mainly associated with a person’s diet (the person concerned eats an excess of meat, seafood, alcohol, etc.).
The uric acid results from the metabolization of the food we consume and of cell degradation, resulting from the decomposition of the substances called purines. When this amount of uric acid exceeds the normal limits, small crystals are formed, which penetrate the joints and cause joint pain.
Should I walk with gout?
Many patients are interested in the question: “Should I exercise, run, or walk with gout? Is anything allowed besides therapeutic gymnastics?”. Doctors respond completely positively. Sport should be chosen depending on which joint is damaged because exercises should put minimal effort on the hurting joint. Remember that you can keep the disease under control.
Causes of the occurrence of gout
- Obesity and food rich in meat
- Some medicines and treatments
- Serious chronic diseases
- Genetic causes
Doctors allow patients to participate in the following sports:
- Swimming. This type of exercise has a beneficial effect on the organism. When a person swims, the pressure on the muscle tissue and vertebral spine is evenly distributed, and the ligaments become elastic. Experts say swimming should only be done in warm water. If not, gout will get worse.
- Aerobic in water. It has the same positive effect on the body as swimming. Patients with gout are recommended to engage in an individual program or in a group class with people having a similar diagnosis. This is because some movements may adversely affect the body, especially the joints with gout.
- Riding the bike. This is a favorite activity for most people. Patients who prefer to ride do not want to give up such a pleasure. But not all patients are allowed to take part in such a sport. In the acute period of the gout arthritis, you will have to forget about horse riding. It will be beneficial for other patients, it will improve the tissues and reduce salt deposits. If a person’s fingers are affected, doctors will advise the patients to place their entire foot on the pedal so that they are not overloaded.
- Walking is allowed for all patients. Walking helps to keep the body in good shape, strengthen the immune system, and normalize blood circulation in the tissues. When you walk, the main rule is to keep breathing, even if the rhythm is increased. In winter, it can be replaced by skiing or ice skating.
- Breathing exercises. No one will interfere with the enthusiasts of such activities. This type of exercise also has a beneficial effect on the organism.
- Yoga. This kind of activity is possible to interfere with gout, but you can practice it with the permission of the treating doctor. The exercises will be selected by a specialist, taking into account the evolution of the disease.
Regardless of physical activity during your gout problems, it is necessary to remember one thing: They should not cause pain. If the patient has discomfort during movement, they should stop the training immediately.
When dealing with muscle discomfort, a slight massage of the affected joint must be done.
Thus, the practice of sports while having gout is necessary. Due to the physical effort, there is an increase in the motor activity of the joints, a worsening in pathology is prevented and the overall health is improving. This effect can be obtained if the program is developed correctly and all the recommendations of the referring physician are followed.
It should be noted that the disease itself occurs after years in which the uric acid crystals have been deposited on the joints and nearby tissues. The disease is characterized by the pain and swelling of the joints affected, as well as by a limitation of their mobility. Self-diagnosis at home does not allow to identify a condition 100%. Among the symptoms of the gout are those listed below:
- Increase of local temperature, edema, increased pain and sensitivity at the joint (usually the joint of the big toe);
- Tegument pruritis (itching skin),
- Discomfort that increases during the night and then gives up in intensity during the following days (usually 2-7 days);
- Intense nighttime pains that can wake you up from sleep;
- Skin exfoliation occurring after the submission of a gout attack;
- Fever and shivering;
- The tegument in the affected joint area is colored red-purple;
- Limited normal movement of the joint.
If any of the signs appear, you should refer to a qualified doctor for advice and additional treatment.
With a disease, symptoms appear quickly and can disappear within a few hours, which complicates diagnosis very much.
Recommended specialist doctors
The following specialists can diagnose and treat gout:
- the family doctors
- the general practitioner (internal medicine doctor)
- the rheumatologist
- the orthopedist
- the diabetologist and nutritionist
There is a single method by which the diagnosis of gout is certainty obtained. This is done through the aspiration of articular liquid (arthrocentesis), which can identify the uric acid crystals at this level. However, in the case of patients with edema joints, with warm red skin tegument (especially at the big toe joint), it is not always possible to diagnose through arthrocentesis, so in this case, it is enough to demonstrate high levels of uric acid in the blood for a diagnostic.
The following investigations are useful for the diagnosis of gout:
- medical history and general clinical examination
- tests which can measure the level of uric acid serum
- tests which can measure the level of uric acid in urine
- the radiography of the extremities is useful in the differential diagnosis of gout with other arthritis.
In order to diminish the pain, edema, redness, and local heat (inflammation), characteristic of a gout attack, it is recommended to administer:
- nonsteroid anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or indomethacin. It is recommended to avoid aspirin as this can suddenly change the uric acid levels and aggravate the symptoms.
- colchicine – has the greatest specificity for gout, with a spectacular response to its administration. However, the administration of colchicine also has side effects that are sometimes powerful: Gastrointestinal manifestations, diarrhea, vomiting, muscular weakness, rhabdomyolysis. For persons with renal insufficiency, colchicine must be administered under the careful attention of the currant doctor
To prevent recurrence of gout, certain drugs that decrease the concentration of uric acid in the blood may be administered (a uric acid value below 6 mg/DL is aimed for individuals with gout and below 5 mg/DL for those with inherited gout):
- agents which speed up the renal elimination of uric acid
- allopurinol, which decreases the production of endogenous uric acid (body level). It has adverse reactions like varicose, diarrhea. Avoid simultaneous administration of thiazide diuretics and anticoagulants.
- colchicine is often prescribed by the specialist doctor to prevent recurrence during the first month of treatment.
To prevent recurring gout attacks, the following are recommended:
- weight loss (in the case of overweight patients with gout) and to maintain a normal weight
- avoiding alcohol consumption
- avoidance of meat-rich diets and diets with marine products (purines-rich foods)
The administration of certain medicinal products may decrease the renal disposal of uric acid by making it easy to accumulate at the body level that is why it is recommended to do:
- regular physical exercise and to avoid sedentarism
- proper hydration – minimum 2-3 liters liquid/day
- a balanced, healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables, dairy products, food that does not acidify urine
Therapeutic exercises for gout: Yoga, aerobic water
Gout is an inflammatory joint disease that requires complex treatment. Gout gymnastics is part of this therapy. It consists of a set of exercises designed by a physician for heat-damaged joints. A medical complex is compiled separately for the acute period of the disease and for the remission stage.
The disease develops and is carried out with varying degrees of complexity. To do this, it is necessary to check the general condition of the body. Do not exercise during high body temperature and avoid hypothermia.
When performing exercises while having gout, it is important to control the amount of liquid you drink to avoid dehydration. Training time should not exceed 30–35 minutes, 3-5 times a week. This rhythm does not allow the body to overload and has a positive effect on treatment.
If excessive fatigue occurs at the end of the lesson and heartbeats and breathing become more frequent, you should reduce the speed of exercises or the number of repetitions.
Foods to avoid
First of all, you will not add salt into your food at all, the salt being contraindicated. Doctors also do not recommend the consumption of organs (kidneys, liver, brain), fatty or high-purine fish (sardines, herring, mackerel, anchovy, salmon, flat-fish), eggs, lamb, veal, canned meat and fish, lard, egg yolk, sour cream, cream, milk products obtained from fatty milk.
There are also vegetables to be avoided, such as asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, tomato concentrates, cucumbers, red beet, white beans, peas, tel. You should also avoid dried figs, blueberries, concentrated sweets, vinegar, white bread, and black bread. Alcoholic beverages are also prohibited. The same goes for chocolate, which intensifies the production of uric acid.
Foods that are permitted
On the list of permitted foods, we can find sweet buttered milk, yogurt, unsalted and light cheeses, beef, chicken meat, and light fish. Sea bass is indicated and you can also eat 1-2 cooked eggs a week.
You can also eat whole grains (including polenta), vegetable soups, and various light sweets. So, your diet will have to be rich in hypoprotein, normoglycemic, and normolipid.
It is important that after a gout attack a specialist doctor can identify the causes that led to its appearance. They will also carry out an overall health assessment and identify any risk factors for gout, such as chaotic lifestyle, some conditions, or the administration of some medicines. Most of the specialists will wait 2-4 weeks from the beginning of the gout attack until the administration of the specific medicine for gout starts.
Most people find that they have high levels of uric acid only after the first gout attack, yet it is important to monitor the disease to prevent recurrence and late complications.
In conclusion, it is very important to go to the doctor as soon as you discover the symptoms of gout, to make the recommended investigations, and then to be rigorous when it comes to the prescribed medication.