Important Facts about Gout and Why Elder Care Makes a Difference

Posted: 8/22/2014 9:55 AM by Interim HealthCare
Gout is a severe form of arthritis more commonly found among elderly men than women. It is the most painful type of arthritis accompanied by swelling, stiffness, heat, and tenderness in the joints. Gout is caused as a result of crystalized uric acid getting deposited into the joints.  This in turn causes inflammatory arthritis in the joints.  Gout can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks.  Gout in the elderly can become so severe that it results in deformities.   Here are some facts about gout and what elder care can do to make a difference.

Factors impacting those most likely to develop gout:
  •  Family History – People with a history of gout in the family
  • Weight – Those who are overweight are at risk due to an increase in the production of uric acid
  • Alcohol Consumption – Too much alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to remove uric acid
  • Medications – Diuretics, Niacin, drugs containing Salicylate such as aspirin, Cyclosporine, and Levodopa used to treat Parkinson’s
  • Health Conditions – Other health problems such as hypothyroidism, high blood pressure, psoriasis, renal insufficiency, hemolytic anemia, or certain types of cancer can increase the risk

The most common area affected by gout in the elderly is the big toe. Other joints that can be affected include the elbow, wrist, hand, ankle, and knee. As the joint swells, the skin becomes tight, sensitive, and red or purple in color. Gout often doesn’t get diagnosed until medical help is necessary to manage the pain.

When treating gout, the main goals include fast pain relief and prevention of future attacks and long-term complications, such as joint destruction and kidney damage.  A doctor may prescribe medicines and explain steps the older person can take at home to prevent future attacks.  Home care can also play an important role in controlling joint damage and preventing future attacks. 

The following are ways that home care for the elderly can help a senior who has gout:
  •  Use a cold and hot therapy on the affected area
  •  Elevate the affected joint upon going to bed
  • Take the prescribed or over the counter medication for pain relief
  •  Drink plenty of water (10 glasses a day)
  •  Incorporate a low-fat and moderate diet
  •  Limit alcohol intake

Those who develop gout can be treated and go on to live productive lives.  If a person is experiencing symptons of gout or has questions, he or she should contact the doctor.  Also, it might be helpful to consider elder care services to help get the symptoms under control.

If you or an aging loved one are considering home care services, contact Interim HealthCare today. G+