Vatarakta, also known as Gout, is a type of arthritis that is caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints. It typically affects the big toe, but can also occur in other joints such as the ankle, knee, wrist, or elbow.
The condition is characterized by sudden and severe attacks of pain, redness, swelling, and tenderness in the affected joint. According to Ayurveda, it is caused by the imbalance of Vata dosha and the accumulation of toxins (ama) in the body.
Uric acid is produced by the breakdown of purines, which are substances found in many foods and drinks. When uric acid levels in the blood become too high, the excess uric acid can form crystals in the joints, leading to the symptoms of gout.
The symptoms of Vatarakta are similar to those of rheumatoid arthritis, but the underlying cause is different. Vatarakta is a result of the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints, whereas rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder.
Gout is more prevalent in men than in women, with increasing age, and in some ethnic groups.
Causes of Vatarakta :
According to Ayurveda, the causes of Vatarakta are related to an imbalance of the Vata dosha and the accumulation of toxins (ama) in the body.
In the Charaka Samhita, the causes of vatarakta are described as follows:
अतिस्नेहो अतिसुकुमारता विरुद्धं च यथासुखं।
जीर्णानि मध्यमांश्चैव वयः समभिवर्धते॥
समाश्लेषो गुरुश्चोष्णः स्वेदो मृद्विकसंयुतः।
अभिष्टदशने दश्ने तथा चेष्टिततोऽदिना॥
Atisneha – excess intake of oily and fatty foods
Atisukumarata – excessive physical activity
Virrudha aahar – indulgence in habits that are opposite to one’s nature can lead to Vatarakta.
Ajirna bhojana – consumption of food in presence of indigestion or when the previously taken food has not been digested.
Ushna aahar – excessive consumption of hot foods
The accumulation of ama in the body due to impaired digestion and metabolism can lead to the development of Vatarakta.
Overall, Ayurveda recognizes the role of diet, lifestyle, and environmental factors in the development of Vatarakta. By addressing these factors, Ayurveda aims to balance the doshas, eliminate toxins from the body, and prevent and manage Vatarakta.
Types of Vatarakta:
Uttana Vatrakta and Gambhira Vatrakta are two subtypes of this disease.
1.Uttana Vatrakta: is a mild form of gout that affects the joints and causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and redness.
वातरोगजनितं दृष्ट्वा यथा शोफं समुत्थितम् ।
उत्तानवात्रक्तं प्रोक्तं लघुशोफलपीडितम् ॥
“When there is swelling due to Vata roga (disease), it is called Uttana Vatrakta. This type of Vatrakta is characterized by mild swelling and pain.”
2. Gambhira Vatrakta: is a severe form of gout that affects multiple joints and can cause fever, weakness, and exhaustion in addition to joint pain.
शीतोष्णादिरहितेषु मलमूत्रे विषसंयुते ।
अभिस्तानादिकं सर्वं गम्भीरं वातरक्तजं ॥
“When there is joint pain along with cold and heat intolerance, dark urine, and constipation, it is called Gambhira Vatrakta. This type of Vatrakta affects multiple joints and is severe in nature.”
Symptoms of Gout(Vatarakta) :
Vatarakta is a condition in Ayurveda that is similar to gout in modern medicine. The symptoms of vatarakta as per Ayurveda include:
- Shula (pain): Vatarakta is characterized by severe pain in the affected joints. The pain is typically sudden and intense and may be accompanied by a burning sensation. Severe pain often at night is seen.
- Shotha (swelling): Swelling is another common symptom of vatarakta. The affected joint may become swollen, red, and warm to the touch.
- Jwara (fever): Some people with vatarakta may experience a fever, which is often accompanied by chills.
- Pricking sensation: In some cases, vatarakta may cause a pricking sensation in the affected joint.
- Stiffness: The joint may become stiff and difficult to move, especially during a flare-up.
- Weakness and fatigue: Vatarakta can cause weakness and fatigue, especially during a severe attack.
- Limited mobility: As the condition progresses, it can cause limited mobility and difficulty performing everyday tasks.
It’s important to note that the symptoms of Vatarakta can vary from person to person and may be influenced by factors such as diet, lifestyle, and overall health.
Risk factors of Gout :
- Genetics: Gout tends to run in families, and certain genetic mutations have been linked to an increased risk of developing the condition.
- Age and gender: Gout is more common in men than in women, and typically develops in men after the age of 30 and in women after menopause.
- Obesity: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing gout, as excess body weight can lead to higher levels of uric acid in the blood.
- Diet: A diet that is high in purines, found in red meat, seafood, and alcohol, can increase the risk of gout.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, and heart disease, can increase the risk of developing gout.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as diuretics used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure, can increase the risk of gout by increasing uric acid levels in the blood.
What are the differences between Gout and pseudogout?
Gout is caused by uric acid crystal buildup in the joints, while Pseudogout is a type of arthritis that is caused by the deposition of calcium pyrophosphate crystals in the joints
Pseudogout can cause similar symptoms to gout, such as joint pain, swelling, and stiffness, but it can also affect different joints in the body than gout does. Additionally, the treatment for pseudogout may differ from the gout treatment, so it is important to get an accurate diagnosis if you are experiencing joint pain or inflammation.
Complications of Vatarakta/Gout :
If left untreated or poorly managed, gout can lead to several complications, including:
- Joint damage: Repeated episodes of gout attacks can cause damage to the affected joint, leading to chronic arthritis, joint deformities, and limited mobility.
- Kidney stones: The excess uric acid in the body can also lead to the formation of kidney stones, which can cause pain and discomfort.
- Kidney damage: Over time, the buildup of uric acid crystals in the kidneys can cause kidney damage and increase the risk of chronic kidney disease.
- Cardiovascular disease: Gout has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.
- Diabetes: People with gout are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those without gout.
- Obesity: Obesity is a known risk factor for gout, and gout can also contribute to weight gain and obesity, creating a cycle of worsening health.
It’s important to seek medical treatment for gout and work with your healthcare provider to manage the condition to prevent complications.
Diagnosis of Gout
Positive Feedback Loop for Uric Acid:
High uric acid levels inhibit reabsorption in the kidneys, leading to even higher levels of uric acid in the bloodstream, potentially causing gout and urate crystal deposition.
Negative Feedback Loop for Uric Acid:
High uric acid levels trigger increased excretion by the kidneys and inhibition of uric acid production, helping to regulate and reduce uric acid levels in the body.
Treatment for Gout :
- Manjishtadi Kashayam
- Guduchyadi Kashayam
- Mahamanjisthadi Kashayam
- Vasadi Kashayam
- Guduchi Churna
- Punarnavadi Kashayam
- Amrita Guggulu
- Kaishor Guggulu
- Punarnava Guggulu
- Gokshuradi Guggulu
- Mahavat vidhvans rasa
- Mahatikta ghrita
- Panchtikta guggulu Ghrita
- Vasa (Adhatoda Vasika)
- Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)
- Aragwadha (Cassia fistula)
- Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
- Katuki (Picrorhiza kurroa)
- Manjistha (Rubia cordifolia)
- Haritaki (Terminalia chebula)
- Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica)
- Amalaki (Emblica Officinalis)
- Neem (Azadirachta Indica)
External Treatment :
- Dhara: Dashmool Kshir dhara will help reduce the pai
- Abhyanga: Abhyanga is a massage therapy that involves the use of warm herbal oils like pinda tailam, Chandanadi tailam, etc. It may help manage gout by reducing pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the joints.
- Basti: Basti is an enema therapy that involves the use of herbal oils or decoctions to cleanse and nourish the colon. It may help manage gout by reducing inflammation and restoring balance to the body.
- Shata Dhauta Ghrita – For external use
- Virechana: Virechana is a purgative therapy that involves the use of herbal laxatives to cleanse the body of toxins. It may help manage gout by removing excess uric acid from the body and reducing inflammation.
- Jalaukavacharanam: Jalaukavacharanam, also known as leech therapy, involves the use of medicinal leeches to remove excess blood from the body. The saliva of the leech contains enzymes that can help reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Ayurvedic treatment for Vatarakta involves dietary and lifestyle changes, herbal remedies, and detoxification therapies to help balance the doshas and eliminate toxins from the body. Dietary recommendations include avoiding foods that are high in purines and increasing the intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources.
Detoxification therapies such as Panchakarma, a series of cleansing procedures, are also recommended for Vatarakta to help eliminate toxins from the body and restore balance to the doshas.