Difference between Arthritis and Gout

Key Difference: Arthritis is an umbrella term covering more than hundred musculoskeletal disorders. Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis which causes sudden severe attack of pain, swelling and tenderness.

The term Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joints. It is an umbrella terms that covers more than 200 kinds of rheumatic diseases or conditions. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two most common types of arthritis. Arthritis is often recognized by its two main symptoms which are joint pain and stiffness. The different types of arthritis are actually caused by different reasons. For example, it can be caused by uric acid crystals, infections, etc.

As the type of arthritis depends upon its cause, therefore the treatment also varies according to the type of arthritis. It results into problems like pain, stiffness, inflammation and damage to joint cartilage and surrounding structures. Many people consider that it is resulted due to ageing; however, it has been proved that it is not a natural part of the ageing process. It is not yet curable. Thus, its treatment is related to reducing the symptoms of arthritis.

Gout is often referred to be the other word for Arthritis. However, it is a form of Arthritis. It is recognized by symptoms like sever pain, redness, warmth, and swelling in some joints. It mostly affects the large toe.

Gout occurs due to the accumulation of uric acid in the blood. In case the production of uric acid gets higher than the levels of its excretion then tiny crystals are formed in and around joints. These crystals are hard and needle shaped. This accumulation or buildup of crystals takes up a lot of years to spread. A person, who is older, obese, has high blood pressure or diabetes, drinks too much beer, etc, is considered to be more prone towards the condition.

Thus, Gout is just a form of Arthritis caused by build-up of uric acid in blood.

Comparison between Arthritis and Gout:

 

Arthritis

Gout

Definition

Arthritis is an umbrella term covering more than hundred musculoskeletal disorders

A common form of inflammatory arthritis caused by an uncontrolled metabolic disorder

Symptoms

  • Pain
  • Limited function of joints.
  • Inflammation of the joints is characterized by
  • Joint stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Warmth
  • Tenderness of the inflamed joint
  • Sudden, intense joint pain, which often can wake a person from sleep.
  • Swollen joint that is warm to touch.
  • Red or purple skin around the joint.

 

Origin

From Greek arthro-, joint + -itis, inflammation; plural: arthritides

From Old French goute, from medieval Latin gutta, literally ‘drop’ (because gout was believed to be caused by the dropping of diseased matter from the blood into the joints).

Causes

The causes of arthritis depend on the form of arthritis. Causes include -

  • Injury (leading to osteoarthritis)
  • Metabolic abnormalities (such as gout and pseudogout)
  • Hereditary factors
  • The direct and indirect effect of infections (bacterial and viral)
  • Misdirected immune system with autoimmunity (such as in rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus).

Hyperuricemia, which leads to the deposition of monosodium urate crystals in tissue.

Treatment

The underlying cause cannot be cured. Thus, the emphasis is on reducing the pain by –

  • Specific exercise programs
  • Change in lifestyle – includes things like eating a healthy diet, sleeping for 8 to 10 hours a night, eating foods with omega 3 fatty acids, etc.
  • Medicines like acetaminophen, aspirin, naproxen may be recommended as over the counter medicines
  • Prescription medicines -Cortisoteroids, DMARD’s, Immunosuppressants like azathioprine or cyclophosphamide may also be prescribed.
  • NSAIDS drugs
  • Strong painkillers may also be prescribed
  • A prescription medicine  colchicine may help in reducing pain and swelling
  • Corticosteriods may also be effective
  • Diet and lifestyle changed
  • And many more depending on the symptoms

Image Courtesy: home-remedies-for-you.com, heelgout.com

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