Interesting title, right? Sounds appropriate for the festive season like you are going to find out about candies. Only we couldn’t be further from the truth.
Tophi (however you decide to pronounce it) as it turns out is plural of tophus. And tophus is formation of monosodium (uric acid) crystals in the body mostly joints (hands & toes, ankle, elbows) and bones. The presence of tophi indicates gout disease. So, not good news.
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis and can bring about intense episodes of pain. Gout progresses in stages and is initially asymptomatic. Eventually, it leads to tophi. The problem with tophi is that it can grow into big lumps which mostly require surgical removal. It hinders the movement of joints, making it difficult to use them. Sometimes they break out the skin making yellowish ugly lumps. It can even stretch the skin and create sores, which will release hardened uric acid pus.
You know, tophi happen in the last and dangerous stage of Gout also known as Chronic Tophaceous Gout. And the consensus is when gout is left untreated for 10 years or more, this phase arrives. So, you may say that tophi are a symptom of gout, but tophi itself has a few symptoms accompanying it like swelling, inflammation, the discomfort of joint.
Gout can be detected via blood test to check uric acid levels. X-ray, MRI and CT scan can be used to ascertain tophi and gout condition. As for the treatment of tophi, in most cases, surgery can be performed for removal of those clumps. Beyond that where surgical removal is not possible 100%, medicines are suggested for breakage and removal of them from the body. The best-case scenario in this situation is to find out about Gout, and start managing it in its initial stages and avoid the road leading to tophi.
A few symptoms of gout are:
- Tenderness and feels warm to the touch
- Intense pain in the joint
- Redness or stiffness of the joint
Whether you talk about gout or tophi, the best bet is preventive measures. A few preventive measures to manage gout:
- Drinking plenty of water
- Reduce or avoid altogether (if possible) alcohol, as it only seems to flare up the condition
- Reduce meat, seafood and other dietary items that can insulate your uric acid levels, and which are high in purines (chemical compounds) content
- Go for healthier meals
- Maintain your body weight
- When needed, consult the doctor
To sum it up, if its tophi or gout or any other health woe that you suffer from, it is always best to go for a healthier option, eat simple, work out and stay positive which works lifelong. You know what they say, “Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live in.”