28 OCT 2020
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis/Gout?
We will begin with an analogy. If you were to rub your bare hands together, you’re not likely to feel any pain. However, if you hold a handful of sandstones in between your palms and rub them, you will definitely feel pain. This is exactly what RA is – urate crystals grow on the surface of the previously frictionless and smooth joint cavity, especially around your toes.
What causes gout?
Urate crystals are formed due to high levels of uric acid in your bloodstream. Your body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines — substances that are found naturally in your body.
However, purines are also found in certain foods, such as steak, organ meats, and seafood. Other kinds of food also result in the production of higher levels of uric acids, such as alcoholic beverages, especially beer, and fructose-sweetened drinks.
Usually, uric acid dissolves in your blood and passes through your kidneys into your urine. Sometimes, your body produces too much uric acid or your kidneys excrete too little uric acid. When this happens, uric acid can build up, forming prickly urate crystals in a joint or surrounding tissue that triggers pain, inflammation, and swelling.
Gout occurs more frequently in men than in women. Clinical symptoms are as such: sudden pain attack at night, inflammation, and swelling. The pain would gradually disappear and it may last a few days to a few weeks. At a late stage, gout may cause your joints to be deformed.
Treatment targeting gout has to focus on clearing heat and dampness, promoting blood circulation, and removing blood stasis. The recommended prescription is Danggui Niantong Decoction Soup, alternatively complemented with Er Miao San. Patients with gout should pay more attention to their diet. Beer and seafood should not be consumed at all. Foods with high purine levels such as fish, shrimps and shellfish, animal offal, soy products, mushrooms, broth, cheese, spinach, etc. should be strictly regulated. Alcohol, red wine, white wine, and foreign wine are not suitable for consumption. Low-purine foods can be taken in moderation such as grains, eggs, milk, fruits, vegetables, and so on.
Authored by Physician Guo Yuan