Gout is similar to arthritis in that it affects your senior’s joints and their ability to remain mobile. Gout can cause extreme and sudden pain. Your elderly family member may not even be able to move the affected joint, depending on the extent of the swelling. Here are some things it might be helpful for you to know if your senior is prone to gout.
Gout Is a Joint Condition
Gout sounds a bit confusing at first, but the easiest way to talk about it is to realize that it’s a joint condition. Uric acid builds up in the joints and creates crystals that are microscopic, but incredibly sharp and painful. As the crystals build up, they create inflammation and affect how well the joints are able to move. Some people experience mild effects from gout, with just a little bit of swelling and pain. Others experience a more complex version of gout, with extreme swelling and heat in the affected area.
Risk Factors for Gout
If your elderly family member has family members who had gout, then she may be more likely to develop gout herself. There are also other health issues that make gout more likely, such as heart disease or kidney problems. Dietary choices can also affect gout, because foods that are high in purines can contribute to gout. These types of foods include meat, sugary foods, and seafood.
Gout is one of those conditions that your elderly family member might have for a long time before she realizes it. It involves the buildup of uric acid in the blood and in the joints, so when an attack finally does occur, the biggest indication is likely to be pain and inflammation in the joint. Your senior may also say that the joint itself feels hot, which is partially because of the pain and partially because of the inflammation.
What Can Your Senior Do about Gout?
There may not be a lot that your senior can do about gout during an attack. Resting the affected joint and keeping it elevated can help a bit with the swelling. Ice may also help some. There may be other solutions that could work for her, but her doctor will need to personalize that plan for her. Your best bet for helping her after the attack ends is following a plan that allows your senior to reduce uric acid buildup in her body, and therefore reduce the risk of another gout flare.
Gout can interfere with your senior’s ability to perform many daily tasks, so she may need some additional help. In-home care providers can be a huge help to her.