Gout (also known as podagra when it involves the big toe) is a medical condition usually characterized by recurrent attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis – a red, tender, hot, swollen joint. Gout is a kind of arthritis which can affect different body parts like ear, small joints on the hand, ankles, knees, or wrists. The metatarsal-phalangeal joint at the base of the big toe is the most commonly affected (approximately 50% of cases). When suffering from gout, one can have symptoms like acute pain in the joints, swelling, intense tenderness and inflammation. It is still not known as what exactly causes gout but presence of uric acid in the body in high amount is one of the reasons. Some of the other possible causes are heredity, excessive consumption of alcohol, lack of physical exercise, excessive intake of protein, and too much stress.
As gout is linked with other types of health problems such as hypertension, diabetic issues, and uric acid kidney stones, it is important to go for proper treatment. To deal with this kind of health condition, there are some easy to follow home cures which are meant to promote healing and give relief from the symptoms. Gout was historically known as “the disease of kings” or “rich man’s disease”.
Signs and symptoms
Gout can present in a number of ways, although the most usual is a recurrent attack of acute inflammatory arthritis (a red, tender, hot, swollen joint). The metatarsal-phalangeal joint at the base of the big toe is affected most often, accounting for half of cases. Other joints, such as the heels, knees, wrists and fingers, may also be affected. Joint pain usually begins over 2-4 hours and during the night. The reason for onset at night is due to the lower body temperature then. Other symptoms may rarely occur along with the joint pain, including fatigue and a high fever.
Long-standing elevated uric acid levels (hyperuricemia) may result in other symptomatology, including hard, painless deposits of uric acid crystals known as tophi. Extensive tophi may lead to chronic arthritis due to bone erosion. Elevated levels of uric acid may also lead to crystals precipitating in the kidneys, resulting in stone formation and subsequent urate nephropathy.
High levels of uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia) is the underlying cause of gout. This can occur for a number of reasons, including diet, genetic predisposition, or underexcretion of urate, the salts of uric acid. Renal underexcretion of uric acid is the primary cause of hyperuricemia in about 90% of cases, while overproduction is the cause in less than 10%. About 10% of people with hyperuricemia develop gout at some point in their lifetimes.
Home remedies for Gout
One solid reason behind gout is increase of uric acid in the body. You can lower the uric acid with the help of baking soda. Once the amount of uric acid gets reduced, you will get relief from the joint pain. Here you need to mix half teaspoon of baking soda in one glass of water and drink it. During an acute attack, drink this solution four times a day but not more than that. This remedy should not be followed by those having the problem of high blood pressure.
The inflammatory properties present in ginger root can also help a lot to give you relief from gout pain. There are many ways to use ginger root in the treatment of gout. First of all you can add ginger root in cooking and eat a small raw piece of ginger root daily. Else you can add half a teaspoon of ginger root to one cup of boiling water and mix it properly before consuming it. You must drink this solution daily at least once to get relief from pain and inflammation. Another option is to make a paste of ginger root with the help of little water and then apply this paste on the affected area. This will also help to reduce the pain.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar which is used in treating headache and acid stomach can also be used in the treatment of gout and arthritis. If suffering from gout, you must mix one to two tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to one glass of water and drink it once daily. Follow this remedy daily until you get relief from pain and inflammation associated with gout. Another option is to take two tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar and mix it with two tablespoon of honey and have it two times in a day, one in the morning and one before going to bed. The anti inflammatory property present in honey and the acidic property of apple cider vinegar will help to give you relief from the acute pain.
To get relief from gout pain, it is essential to alkalize the body and neutralize the excess uric acid present in blood stream. This can be easily done with the help of fresh lemon juice and baking soda. Take the juice of one whole lemon and mix it with half teaspoon of baking soda. Leave for a few seconds and then add one glass of water to it and drink immediately. Another option is to add the juice of half lemon to a glass of water and drink it three times a day. Along with lemon you must also eat other fruits rich in Vitamin C in order to strengthen the body tissues.
It is very common to hear people say that an apple a day will keep the doctor away. Especially when you have the problem of gout you must make it a habit to eat at least one apple daily. Experts suggest to eat an apple after each meal. The malic acid present in apples will help to neutralize the uric acid present in the body and will provide you soothing relief from gout pain and inflammation. In case you do not like to eat apple, then you can try apple juice. Along with apple it is also a good idea to eat raw carrots daily.
Cherry whether sweet or sour can also be very helpful in the treatment of gout due to its antioxidant property. At the same time cherry contains anthocyanins which can reduce inflammation as well as lessen the flare ups of gout. For a gout patient, it is highly recommended to eat fifteen to twenty cherries in a day and for better result start your day with some cherries. Another option is to consume a glass of cherry juice enriched with a few cloves of minced garlic daily. This will give you relief from inflammation and joint tenderness. It is better to eat fresh cherries but in case it is not available in the market then you can opt for the canned cherries.
Epsom salt is another useful ingredient that can be used in the treatment of gout and other form of arthritis. When the affected body part is soaked in warm water mixed with Epsom salt it relaxes the aching muscles and gives you relief from the pain. For a leisurely bath, add two cups of Epsom salt to the warm water of your bathtub and soak your body in it until the water starts losing heat. Try to follow this remedy once a week but if suffering from severe gout problem then you can try it two to three times a week. The high amount of magnesium present in Epsom salt will also improve the condition of your heart and lower down the high blood pressure.
When cold water is applied on the affected area it will reduce the swelling as well as the pain. In case of gout, it is advisable not to use ice directly on the skin as it can damage the skin and make your condition worse. Instead put cold tap water into a bottle and apply it to the inflamed swollen joints for ten to fifteen minutes at a time. Repeat the process several times a day. You can use an ice pack but it should be wrapped in a towel first and then apply it to the affected area. You must avoid excess use of ice packs as it can lead to crystallization of uric acid.
Activated charcoal is known to adsorb uric acid and hence it can be safely used for gout treatment. Those suffering from gout should take a charcoal bath twice or thrice a week. For enjoying a charcoal bath, take half cup of charcoal powder and blend it properly with some water until a paste is ready. Put this paste in tub and add more water and then soak your affected body part in it for at least half an hour. This remedy is a good solution for ankle joint and big toe gout. For other affected body parts, make charcoal paste and apply it on the skin. Leave for half an hour and rinse it with lukewarm water. After consulting your doctor, you can also take activated charcoal capsules orally to get relief from gout pain and inflammation.
Bananas are also very effective in treating gout. The high amount of potassium present in bananas will help in converting uric acid crystals into liquid form which will be later on flushed out of the body through urination. Bananas are also abundant in vitamin C which can be very effective in managing the swelling and pain of the joints. Daily eat one or two bananas and soon you will be able to notice improvement in your condition. Another option is to add one ripe banana to half cop of yogurt. This will also help to keep you away from diarrhea.
To conclude, if you are suffering from gout simply try these above mentioned natural remedies to get some relief from the pain and inflammation. But before trying any of these remedies you must bear in mind that there is no fast cure for gout. Time and determination are required to treat gout.