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Gout: Risk factors and symptoms among seniors

Feb 21, 2012, 11:20 a.m.

What is red, big, and swollen? If you answered a pimple, you'd be right. But what we're talking about here is gout, which gives off the same symptoms. Gout not only makes your big toe even bigger, (and who wants that, right?), it can cause intense pain, especially at night.

A burning, sharp pain, tenderness, or stiffness in the affected joint are other symptoms of gout in seniors, which are symptoms that can surely affect a golfer's handicap. Although the big toe is the most common target of the jaws of gout, it can occur to practically any joint, including the ankles and knees.

Diagnosing Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis that results when your blood has too much uric acid. High levels of uric acid can form crystals in senior joints. To test for gout, your physician may take a blood sample to check the uric acid in your blood. In addition, your doctor may extract fluid from the painful joint to determine if it contains uric acid crystals.

Gout Risk Factors

Do you drink a lot of booze? How about eating a lot of red meat? If so, you are increasing your risk of getting gout. If you haven't been hitting the treadmill much and are overweight, then you also increase your likelihood of getting gout. In addition, if you consume large quantities of fish that contain purines, you increase your risk of developing gout. Finally, some medications, such as diuretics can contribute to gout.

Treating Gout

Any who has gout knows that it surely is a painful condition, and when a gout attack happens it can unfortunately linger for days or weeks. In order to treat gout, your doctor may give you corticosteroid shots or oral medications. Your dosage will gradually become lower as your symptoms of gout subside.

When you are in the midst of a gout attack, good old ibuprofen or anti-inflammatory medications can help ease your suffering. Here's a word of warning though: refrain from taking aspirin, which can raise your uric acid and make your gout symptoms worse.

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