Every physical action we take, from walking, talking, jumping, running, or simply standing is in part a function of our musculoskeletal system, a network of bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and other tissues.
Our numerous joints are a part of this system, including fibrous, cartilaginous, and synovial types that help us move most every part of our bodies. Because we rely on our joints so much, injuries and other forms of damage are pretty frequent, with arthritis being among the most common.
Around 59 million American adults struggle with arthritis, which has over 100 types that can affect your joints and make movement more difficult and painful. Gout is a form of arthritis that damages your joints, but does so in a unique way that can lead to complications not found in other types of arthritis.
If you live in the Beverly Hills, California, area, and you’re struggling with gout, Dr. Shawn Veiseh and our dedicated medical staff can help you find the treatment you need.
Let’s examine how gout is different from other types of arthritis by looking at the basics of arthritis, how gout affects your body, and what problems it can lead to.
Your joints are the points where your bones, ligaments, tendons, bursa (fluid-filled sacs that help cushion movement), and other tissues intersect to bend, twist, or otherwise allow flexibility of movement.
Arthritis is the general term for the condition that affects your joints, causing pain and inflammation. As mentioned earlier, there are a number of different types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis (the most common), rheumatoid, psoriatic, and ankylosing spondylitis.
Arthritis most often affects adults in their 30s or older, but can also affect those as young as teenagers (juvenile arthritis).
Various factors can increase your risk for this joint inflammation, such as family history, activities that put repeated stress on specific joints, autoimmune diseases, and infections. Any of these issues can lead to the pain, redness, swelling, tenderness, warmth, and stiffness that is often associated with arthritis.
How gout affects your body
Gout can cause all the symptoms listed above, but unlike other types of arthritis where wear-and-tear over time, immune system dysfunction, or other factors lead to bones and tissues in your joints being compromised, gout occurs as a result of hyperuricemia, an excess of uric acid.
This chemical comes from purines which are found in certain foods you eat (seafood, turkey, goose, liver, alcohol) and is normally excreted out of your body through your kidneys in the form of urine. The excess uric acid comes from either not being able to excrete enough of the acid from your body or producing too much to be processed properly.
High levels of uric acid form crystals that settle in your joints, causing different types of gout, including asymptomatic gout, acute gout, intercritical gout, chronic tophaceous gout, or pseudogout.
Gout frequently starts in your big toe but can occur in your wrists, fingers, elbows, knees, and ankles. It also typically comes with intense joint pain, discoloration, and inflammation.
Complications of gout
In addition to the symptoms unique to this condition, gout can also lead to:
If you find yourself dealing with chronic cases of gout, you risk successive damage to the joints affected, especially if left untreated.
Deposits of uric acid crystals can form into nodules called tophi, especially when left untreated, and can also lead to swelling and tenderness during flare-ups.
Uric acid crystals can also lead to problems with kidney stones and other issues in your urinary tract.
Gout is a peculiar form of arthritis that shows many of the same signs but can mean a number of different types of harm to your body that other types of arthritis don’t present.
If you’re struggling with gout, make an appointment with Dr. Veiseh and our team. Call our office or schedule a visit online today to get started on the road to recovery.