Metabolic and systemic diseases with joint complications
Crystal arthropathy is another very common cause of arthritis in adults, of which the most common is gout. Gout is caused by the accumulation of uric acid in the body. As soon as uric acid levels reach a certain saturation point, uric acid crystals develop. These crystals then become deposited in the cartilage of the joints, causing inflammation. When these crystals affect the joint, it leads to an acute gout attack that causes intense pain, swelling, and stiffness in a joint.
How do gout and metabolic disease affect the joints?
Metabolic diseases such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes have a direct systemic effect on the joints and have been noted to aggravate joint damage. The co-occurrence between gout and these metabolic diseases suggests that gout plays a role in the development of these metabolic diseases, including atherosclerosis which can lead to heart attacks, strokes and peripheral vascular disease.
How can gout be treated?
Since high levels of uric acid are known as the cause of gout, gout is a very controllable form of arthritis. Treatment may be aimed at lowering uric acid levels in the bloodstream and also reducing the effect of metabolic diseases like obesity, hypertension and diabetes on the joints. Therefore, treatment often includes the modification of lifestyle as gout attacks can be managed with a balanced diet and avoiding foods that are high in purines to maintain a low level of uric acid in the bloodstream. Anti-inflammatory drugs and uric acid-lowering medications can also be used to manage and treat gout.
In addition, Dr Griesel may address the metabolic diseases that may be aggravating joint inflammation. Treating and managing obesity, hypertension and diabetes are thus just as essential to reducing joint pain and inflammation.