Gout, the so-called “kings’ sickness,” was formerly regarded to be a condition that only afflicted kings. Gout cases in women, on the other hand, have increased rapidly in the previous 20 years. This inflammatory arthritis, which causes joint inflammation and severe pain around the base of the big toe, affects 2 million women and 6 million men in the United States today.
Gout is a condition in which excessive amounts of uric acid in the blood cause needle-shaped crystals to develop in the joints, resulting in pain, inflammation, and redness. Unlike men, gout is much more likely to affect women after 50 years of age. This is because women undergo menopause during that age.
Gout Triggers In Women
Women are protected by estrogen, a feminine hormone. Uric acid is naturally washed out in their urine as a result of this. The uric acid levels in a woman’s blood begin to rise when she loses estrogen following menopause. That’s why premenopausal women and women on estrogen replacement treatment with gout are uncommon. When a woman is suffering from gout symptoms before the age of 60, she is more likely to have other risk factors, such as diuretics or a background of kidney troubles.
Hormones aren’t the only thing going on at work. Women with gout are more likely to have additional illnesses such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, and obesity than men, according to a study published in 2017. Diuretics were found to be a greater risk factor for women, while food triggers were found to be more common in men. These findings point to alternatives to uric acid-lowering medications for treating gout in women.
How Does Gout Affect Women?
Gout is more common in women’s toes, knees, wrists, and ends of fingers. Gout frequently affects women’s distal finger joints, which may already be damaged due to osteoarthritis. The most typical initial symptom of gout is sudden and intense episodes, which might wake you up during sleep. Women, on the other hand, are more prone than males to develop gout in many joints over time.
It appears that the first episode of gout in women is more likely to include several joints. It isn’t always the case that the great toe is enlarged. This is frequently mistaken as inflammatory osteoarthritis in the hands when it is actually gout attacks.
Sometimes, atypical symptoms may result in a misdiagnosis. Identifying gout in women, on the other hand, is crucial for heart and kidney function. The good news is that uric acid-lowering medicines work very well. It was long assumed that avoiding attacks might be as simple as eating a low-purine diet.