Why Is AI A Huge Bet In Treating Gout, Mental Health & Other Chronic Diseases

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Have you ever heard of gout? This inflammatory rheumatic disease affects up to 3% of the general population (with a tendency to increase) becoming more prevalent in men than in women, with a ratio of up to seven men to one woman. While in men the first flare-up usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 60, in women it usually appears at the age of 60+.  

But what exactly causes gout? This disease results from hyperuricemia, that is, the excess of uric acid in the blood and its accumulation in the joints in the form of sodium monourate crystals. People with chronic gouty arthritis experience constant joint pain and are more likely to develop depression than people who are well. 

Chronic Gout Pain and Depression

The pain experienced by someone with an arthritis condition like chronic gout is more than just the painful sensation. The pain also affects their thoughts, mood, and behavior. Chronic pain can be depressing, and a depressed mood can worsen the overall experience. Your brain uses many of the same neurotransmitters to control pain and mood.  

Normally, your brain will try to dampen pain signals to allow you to focus on the experiences of everyday life. But if you are thinking only about pain, the experience of pain becomes more intense. 

Recognizing Symptoms of Depression

Estimations say that over 50% of people with depression only mention their physical symptoms, including physical pain, when they see their doctor. Because depression makes the pain more difficult to treat, it is important to be aware of the connection between pain and depression. Recognizing these warning symptoms and getting help can prevent you from going into a full-scale depression. 

Symptoms of depression include: 

  • Decreased energy 
  • Change in sleep patterns (trouble sleeping or sleeping for unusually long periods) 
  • Change in appetite 
  • Depressed mood 
  • Loss of interest in sex 

Treating Depression Along With Gout Pain

Fortunately, you do not have to suffer in silence: depression is treatable, and treatment can help relieve your pain and your depression. Treating depression can help you manage your pain in ways that allow you to be less dependent on pain medications. Antidepressant medications, along with psychotherapy work effectively for patients with severe depression, although, in less severe cases, psychotherapy tends to be enough. 

If you need antidepressant medications, they can help relieve your depression and can also release chemicals that help directly offset the intensity of your pain. The medications for depression, increase the same neurotransmitters in your brain that help you decrease your pain response. 

Living with the pain of chronic gout is difficult, and depression makes the pain even worse. But, it is not a sign of weakness, and the good news is that gout and depression are manageable. Aiming to tackle this issue, a group of researchers has been studying and understanding how mental health and gout correlate in the real-world context. 

About the Study

During the annual meeting which takes place in the American College of Rheumatology, Philadelphia. The researchers displayed how can artificial intelligence (AI), skim through enormous amounts of data in online communities such as Reddit and Facebook, and use that information to identify talk related to mental health and gout. 

In their study, they found mental health as a present topic in at least 4 percent of comments and posts in the communities, along with it, depression, stress, and anxiety. The study also showed that when addressing “urgent care” as opposed to “primary care,” patients were more likely to use derogatory language. Primary care was more likely to be connected with “trust,” whereas going to an urgent care center was frequently associated with “fear.” 

According to the study, gout is less likely to be associated with mental health problems if it is well-controlled and patients don’t need to seek immediate assistance for flare-ups. It notes that there are two main conclusions from this new research that are consistent with past studies that have discovered that treating gout dramatically reduces the possibility of presenting with anxiety or depression. The first is that improper gout care harms a person holistically as well as physically. 

The second is the opportunities that AI and these studies present are beyond exciting for these researchers. With this technology, it is possible to analyze disease-specific trends for other chronic diseases, thus so, improving healthcare accessibility and assistance. 

How could this benefit you?

For a variety of reasons, it’s crucial to learn how to enhance the mental health of those who have gout. It’s also vital to keep in mind that there may be a positive and negative relationship between mental health and gout.  

It’s interesting to note that past research has shown some evidence suggesting a link between elevated uric acid levels and anxiety and sadness. (Gout develops when uric acid levels become excessive and crystals begin to accumulate in joints.) Further study is required, however, this may help to explain why emotional stress can set off a flare. 

In either case, it’s crucial to speak with your doctor if you or a loved one has gout and is experiencing anxiety or depression. Together, you can ensure that your gout is under control and that you are taking the proper action to receive the mental health care you require. 

If you liked this post, check ANAI for more AI-related content! 

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