Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. It is more common in the elderly though young people can also suffer from arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs as the cushioning barrier between the bones of a joint wears away. This causes the bones to rub together and causes inflammation and swelling of the joints. It is extremely painful and can make something as simple as picking up a pen to sign your till slip impossible. The pain and inflammation can be aggravated by cold and extended activity in the affected joints. The symptoms can be treated with the use of cortisone injections and a change in diet to include foods with anti-inflammatory properties. It cannot be cured however its symptoms can be relieved to some extent and its progress slowed by modern medicine. It is also believed to be hereditary but requires an environmental trigger.
Where arthritis and gout differ is that gout is that, while arthritis is generally a pervasive constant pain or discomfort, gout (which is actually a form of arthritis) typically manifests as sudden pain which can be severe enough to wake a person from sleep. It will generally only affect one joint at a time though multiple joints can be affected. Gout is generally caused by an excess of uric acid in the system. The uric acid forms sharp crystals in the joints and it is these crystals that cause the intense pain. Gout can be treated by a change in diet and medication which limits the production of uric acid.
While Rheumatoid arthritis and gout do look similar, it is possible to figure out which one you have. Gout will usually start in the feet while rheumatoid arthritis can start anywhere. Gout is usually localised while rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic condition.
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