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How Gout Affects Seniors

Gout is a form of arthritis that usually affects just one joint at a time. It is characterized by inflammation, redness, and warmth in the affected area as well as intense pain. In most instances, gout impacts the joint in the big toe, however, it can also involve other toes. Joints in the knees, elbows, ankles and wrists are also subject to episodes of gout, particularly in severe cases. This condition is most prevalent among middle-aged men, but many women are prone to developing gout after menopause. Read on for more information on gout, present by Santa Clarita Home Care Assistance.

Build-Up of Uric Acid 

Gout occurs when uric acid crystals accumulate in the joints. When the body breaks down protein and cells, the process creates uric acid, which remains present in the blood until the kidneys can flush it out. If uric acid levels become too high and kidney functioning is not sufficient for flushing the acid out, crystals will begin to form and build up in the kidneys, joints, and soft tissue. In some instances, these deposits can become large enough to extend to the skin. Larger deposits like these are known as tophi, and they are typically found around the cartilage and joints. Seniors who have gout can additionally develop severe bursitis.

Contributing Factors

A family history of gout can significantly increase a senior’s likelihood of developing this condition. Also, diets rich in high-protein foods often overwhelm the kidneys and lead to excess uric acid in the bloodstream, particularly in seniors. Seniors who are overweight, consume excess alcohol, maintain low-calorie diets or regularly use aspirin are also likely to experience gout.

Alleviating Gout in Seniors

During acute episodes of gout, seniors often run low-grade fevers. The affected site will become red, warm to the touch, and inflamed. Doctors recommend elevating the affected joint, taking anti-inflammatory medicines like Ibuprofen to reduce swelling, and creating protective barriers around the inflamed joint to prevent physical contact and reduce pressure. When pain is severe, pain medications may be subscribed for increased relief.

Most natural remedies for gout involve major dietary changes. Seniors are encouraged to drink plenty of water, focus on eating fresh goods that are served closest to their natural state, and to limit their intake of high-protein foods and alcohol. Drinking cranberry juice and coconut water are believed to enhance kidney functionality, thereby flushing excess uric acid out of the system.

For help making the necessary dietary changes to alleviate symptoms of gout, reach out to Home Care Assistance. With hourly care in Santa Clarita, you can provide your loved one the support he or she needs to make and keep healthy lifestyle changes. Every caregiver is expertly trained to help with a wide array of activities from grocery shopping to cooking healthy meals and can also provide support during physical activities as well as emotional support. Call our office today at 661.259.9914 and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation to learn more.