The dangerous complications of gout
So you’ve got gout! You’ve been dealing with it for a few years now, getting a gout attack or flare up here and there. Years down the road and into the future, are you aware of the complications associated with gout, that you can risk having if you don’t treat the disease properly?
First of all, if gout is left untreated and you continue to suffer numerous gout attacks, over the years you could face irreversible and permanent joint damage. Your joints can become deformed whereby you can become disabled. Eventually, the affected joints can come out of alignment and be rendered completely immobile. It’s also very possible that you might need surgery done on your joints to screw back the bones together due to bone erosion over the years. Yes the thought is scary, that’s why it’s important to discipline yourself if you suffer from this disease and avoid getting worse.
Another complication of gout after many years is the development of tophi. Uric acid that deposits in the soft tissues especially around the joints can cause nodules known as tophi which are small white or yellowish lumps that build up under the skin. Although tophi is usually painless, they can form in awkward places like around your toes or ends of your fingers even on heels, knees and elbows. Actually, they can appear anywhere in the body even on your spine and vocal chords! If there is tophi below your skin there is even more within the cartilage and bone of your joints! Tophi is obviously a sign that you have severe gout and must treat it with allopurinol or another uric acid lowering therapy to dissolve the crystals. Tophi may also be surgically removed.
Kidney stones are another complication you want to keep off the radar and occur in 10% to 40% of gout patients. But since we suffer from gout, our chances double that some of us may end up with kidney stones. A history of gout does not increase the chances of developing kidney stones though. Uric acid can deposit in the kidneys and cause kidney stones as well as decreased kidney function.
What happens is uric acid crystallizes in the urinary system forming stones and the urine becomes too concentrated. Symptoms will occur once the stones begin to move down the ureter causing intense pain when passing urine. Kidney stones can also cause an infection in the urinary system. You may be prescribed medication to help make your urine less acidic helping dissolve any kidney stones that may have formed. Want to avoid kidney stones? Watch your diet like a hawk and change your lifestyle ASAP!!! Don’t forget to drink plenty of water on a daily basis. You can learn more on my book “Gout and You” The Ultimate Gout Diet & Cookbook”. You may also suffer one day from kidney disease and renal failure if you don’t manage your uric acid levels properly. 25% of gout patients will eventually suffer from this.
Heart disease is next on the list that can come about from your gout since gout is associated with unhealthy cholesterol and lipid levels. Gout increases the risk of you developing a heart attack. Since we suffer from gout, we also suffer from hyperuricemia which has also been associated with a higher risk of death from heart conditions including high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.
Finally, other complications that can occur in gout patients are the development of cataracts or dry eye syndrome and in rarer cases you could have uric acid crystals deposit in the lungs. Let’s not forget the psychological effects that the disease can cause the gout patient in the long term affecting your mood causing either depression or anxiety. I hope this post makes you think long and hard about the importance of disciplining yourself when it comes to your diet and lifestyle as well as taking your doctor’s advice on prescription drugs to avoid the nasty complications of gout.
Posted by Spiro Koulouris
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