Gout is a complex form of arthritis that is very widespread, as explained by Professor Carlo Selmi, Head of Clinical Rheumatology and Immunology at Humanitas, guest in Buono a Sapersi on Rai Uno.
“Gout is a very widespread inflammatory disease of the joints, in Italy it affects about 1% of the population, while in the United States it reaches 4%. High levels of uric acid in the blood, a waste component of the body that can be produced in excess or insufficiently excreted, especially through the kidneys can trigger it. It is therefore very important to promote proper secretion of this compound, for example, by drinking at least 2.5 liters of water a day.
For patients suffering from gout, we recommend reducing the amount of purine in their diet, for example by minimizing the intake of red meat, blue fish and offal. Low-fat dairy products are allowed and may even have a protective effect,” explained Professor Selmi.
Symptoms of Gout
“In men the values of uric acid in the blood should not exceed 7 mg/dl and in women 6.5 mg/dl: men are more affected by gout than women, who are more at risk after menopause.
The high uric acid values are completely asymptomatic, while gout is very painful: it is manifested by arthritis, swelling, pain and redness of a joint, usually the big toe. The onset is very rapid and often occurs during the night, when our feet have a lower temperature; often the pain is such as to wake up those who suffer from it,” the specialist stressed.
How is gout treated?
“The treatment of the acute episode is based on the intake of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, cortisone, but also on the use of a special drug (colchicine) that acts on neutrophils, the population of white blood cells that are more aggressive during acute inflammation.
If you have more than one episode of gouty arthritis per year, with high uric acid values, you should consult your health care professional, who will suggest medication to reduce your uric acid values.
There are many prospects of treatment, thanks to the commitment of Research in the field of inflammation. The most important inflammation item in gout is interleukin 1, a cytokine of the immune system that draws other cells and creates an “unauthorized” collection of autoimmune cells. In this sense, we now have biological drugs that can affect this cytokine and thus extinguish inflammation effectively,” concluded Professor Selmi.