You might think you have osteoarthritis (OA) if your knee is swollen and stiff, but it could also be gout. Both illnesses have a lot in common, just like many near relatives. You might be unsure which one is causing your symptoms because they typically occur jointly together.
OA is a degenerative condition that causes the cartilage that cushions bones to break down over time. It affects joints such as the knees, hips, fingers, lower back, and neck, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. Uric acid crystals form in the joints of people who have gout. Gout most commonly affects the big toe joint, however, it can also affect the ankles, knees, hands, and wrists. Gout patients with high uric acid levels may affect other body organs as well.
Knowing which problem you have, or whether you have both gout and osteoarthritis—can assist your doctor in fine-tuning your treatment.
Gout and OA are frequently coexist
People with uric acid deposits in their joints are more likely to get OA in those same joints, according to a study by Duke University Medical Center. Gout patients are also more likely to develop severe OA. According to researchers, uric acid crystals may induce an inflammatory response that causes OA joint degeneration.
On the other hand, those with osteoarthritis can be triggered to acquire gout also. One explanation is that OA causes joint deterioration, which produces an environment that favours the formation of uric acid deposits.
The same inflammatory processes that damage joints could underlie both OA and gout. And the two conditions share a few common risk factors—including obesity. Extra weight both increases the production of uric acid and puts more strain on joints.
How to know whether I have gout or OA?
Despite the fact that gout and OA can affect the same joints at the same time, there are techniques for your doctor to distinguish between the two. Gout is characterised by bouts of pain, swelling, warmth, and redness in a single joint, most commonly the big toe. While OA is more chronic, waxing and waning in nature, it does not begin as abruptly as gout.
If your symptoms don't reveal the source of your joint pain, your doctor can conduct tests to discover if you have excessive uric acid levels in the affected joint.
Treating Gout and OA
Other than relying on medication such as pain killers, treatment for gout and OA relies heavily on lifestyle changes. Restricting high purine foods and weight loss can avoid high uric acid levels and relieve strain on the painful joints.
It is critical for gout patients to keep their uric acid levels under control at all times. Although OA was often thought to be an untreatable disease of passive degeneration, the efficacy of urate-lowering medications or supplements used to treat hyperuricemia and gouty arthritis may be useful in the preventive treatment of OA. Find out the comparison of uric acid supplements available in Malaysia.