Gout Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & Medical Insurance | Royal Sundaram
What is Gout?
Gout for most affected patients involves extremely painful swelling in their big toe, usually appearing suddenly or after a trauma, surgery, chemotherapy, or injury due to sickness. It usually affects one joint at a time, and later the inflammation may progress to other joints in the lower body like the knees or the ankles and feet. Recurrent bouts may occur and turn into a chronic condition, eventually damaging joints, if left untreated.
Uric acid forms crystal lumps and deposits under your skin near the joints, called Tophi which are disfiguring, inflammatory and relatively painless. These crystal deposits can also lead to kidney stones. Underlying serious health conditions like diabetes, chronic cardiovascular or kidney diseases, high BP etc. have been known to be associated with gout.
Too much uric acid build-up in the blood causes gout. Obesity, excessive alcohol intake, consumption of foods with high purine content like dried beans, sardines, beer, gravy, anchovies, animal organs, asparagus, liver, etc. can lead to gout. Certain medications have also been known to cause gout. Lifestyle and food choices including fasting and crash dieting, low fluid intake causing dehydration, sodas and fizzy drinks etc. can also trigger gout.
Symptoms of gout are easy to identify and may appear suddenly and intensify in a short span of time. The most commonly appearing signs and gout symptoms are:
- Sudden and intense joint pain, usually beginning with the joint of the big toe.
- Tenderness and inflammation which may be warm to the touch.
- Stiffness, inflammation, and redness in the affected joint. Purplish colour instead of red appears in some cases.
- Restricted joint movement and partial range of motion brought on by painfully swollen joints.
- Lasting discomfort even after the majority of the pain has subsided.
The primary symptoms of Gout are usually identified by the patients. The patient may confuse it for arthritis pain, but once they consult a doctor, there are several methods the diagnose gout. Some of which are:
- By a blood test, to determine uric acid levels.
- The joint fluid test is done by drawing the fluid from the locally inflamed area by a needle. Subsequent microscopic studies reveal the presence or absence of crystals.
- Imaging and X-ray of the joints are done to isolate causal factors.
- Alternatively, an ultrasound test may be performed to check for areas with uric acid.
Gout Treatment and Cost in India
Gout is a type of arthritis. Therefore, all edibles should target overall bone and joint health. All vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, plant-based oils, skim milk, water, etc. are known to reduce uric acid levels in the blood. Avoiding red meat, animal organ meats, certain crustaceans, sugary beverages is advisable. Regular physical activities and weight management is a useful gout prevention tool. Most gout medicines work in two ways; they lower the pain and prevent the build-up of uric acid in the blood, which is the disease-causing factor.
Gout treatment cost in India varies between a few thousand rupees annually, depending on the severity and age of the patient and the prescribing doctor. Most non-prescription medicines recommended by doctors are either painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs like ibuprofen or naproxen.
Patients with cases of advanced gout or urate crystals forming renal stones need surgery or advanced care and therefore advanced drugs, both of which could potentially cost more. This is where health insurance for family comes into play. Although healthcare facilities in India have improved over time, there is still a long way to go. Until then, health insurance policy covers can aid in providing quality care and adequate financial support.
Health Insurance in India
Health insurance providers offer several customizable packages and benefits aimed at specific needs. Out-of-pocket expenses, Pre and post hospitalization cover, total end-end claim assistance, restoration benefits on the insured sum, etc. are few of the features that good medical insurance providers cover. After a certain waiting period, pre-existing health concerns are also covered by a list of networked hospitals as per your policy provider.
Health insurance policy is something that is essential for everyone due to rising inflation and healthcare costs. While insurance providers offer all the earlier mentioned features, it is up to you to select the most suited health insurance plan. Do your due diligence and select best health insurance plans that offer more features at better rates and with overall high claim settlement ratio.
Other Diseases in India
India, as a country sees high internal migration. There are numerous people living on the streets, in disease-prone and unhygienic conditions mostly displaced by famines, floods, drought, etc. A substandard healthcare system, bourgeoning slums lacking basic hygiene in shoddy living environments, increases their vulnerability to several, often deadly and infectious diseases.
Some other diseases that could cause trouble are:
- Developmental disorders