19 Sep What You Need To Know About Gout
Gout is a common but very painful form of arthritis that is marked by inflammation in various joints, most often in the big toe, ankles, in the knees or in other toe joints. By its nature, gout comes in the form of flare-ups that recede for days, weeks, months or years. These times in which you are symptom-free is called a period of remission.
Curiously, gout will only occur in one joint at a time. The reason is due to the cause of gout, which is a build-up of uric acid, which is what you get when your body breaks down purines, which are naturally occurring and also in some of the food you eat.
Technically, gout is the result of hyperuricemia, which is the build-up of uric acid crystals in a joint, which causes painful swelling. Uric acid crystals are technically termed monosodium urate, which can occur in body fluids, joints, and soft tissue. However, a hyperuricemic condition can be symptom-free. Although there is no cure for gout, it is only treated with the condition becomes painful — treatment generally centers or relief of symptoms.
Risks of getting gout
There are various risk factors that increase your chances of getting gout. Risks can increase due to certain medical conditions. It can also increase if you drink alcohol or eat foods high in purine.
- Men are more susceptible than women
- Risk climb with congestive heart failure
- Various diuretic medications
- Insulin resistance
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Alcohol increases risk
- High fructose beverages
- Foods high in purine: Tuna, mussels, scallops, trout, anchovies, sardines, red meat
Symptoms of gout
- Swelling of big toe joint or other affected joint – generally knees, ankles or other toes
- Painful joint – sometimes severe pain
- Redness of the area
- The area surrounding the affected joint is warm or hot
It is difficult to distinguish gout from other arthritic conditions, which makes it all the more important that doctors take their time and consult with specialists to make a proper diagnosis.
Treatment for gout
There is no cure for gout, but there are ways to manage gout flare-ups when they occur. Various strategies for treatment include:
- Medication: Pharmaceutical options generally start with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are available over-the-counter. These include ibuprofen. Steroids and colchicines are also common treatment options.
- Medications to avoid: Diuretic medication can increase occurrences of gout
- Dietary changes: The basic idea is to avoid foods with high purine content, such as red meat, organ meat, various kinds of seafood (scallops, mussels, tuna, trout, anchovies, and others).
- Lifestyle changes: Primarily these include getting down to a healthy weight and stopping or cutting down on alcohol consumption
- Additionally: Stay in shape. Regular exercise can help reduce symptoms and flare-ups
Do you think you are suffering from gout? This condition can be distressing and while there is no cure, managing gout requires medical care. In San Diego, call Pacific Medical Care at 619-333-8114 to schedule an appointment.