WHAT IS GOUT?
Understanding & Treatment Options for Gout
WHAT IS GOUT?
What is Gout?
Gout is a form of arthritis that develops when high levels of uric acid build up in the blood and joints. The body produces uric acid when it breaks down foods like steak, seafood, alcohol, and fructose forming needle-like crystals called urate crystals. High levels of urate crystals in the joints can cause severe pain, inflammation, and swelling in the foot, especially the big toe joint. If you are experiencing gout symptoms, schedule a consultation online today with one of our premier podiatrists in South Florida to explore proper gout treatments.
What Causes Gout?
Gout is a result of hyperuricemia which is the excess of uric acid in the body. Some people over overproduce uric acid while others can’t process it so it builds up. Lifestyle factors such as a diet high in purines, obesity, and excessive alcohol consumption are known causes of uric acid buildup. More associated causes include:
- Diet: Eating red meat and shellfish.
- Genes: African Americans are most likely to develop gout.
- Gender: Gout is more common in men than in women.
- Weight: Individuals who are obese have a higher chance of developing gout.
- Alcohol: Drinking more than two drinks a day increase the chances of developing gout.
- Other health conditions: High cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease raise the risk as well.
Understanding the Symptoms
Flare-ups are characterized by intense and sudden bouts of pain in the foot. These flares can last days or weeks followed by remission and reoccurrence. More symptoms include:
- Acute joint pain
- Warmth in the joint
- Limited range of motion in the joints
- Inflammation and swelling in the joints
Treatment options consist of taking medication to treat current flare-ups and preventative measures to prevent future attacks. The doctor may recommend a medication plan with drugs that regulate uric acid levels and NSAIDs like ibuprofen to help relieve pain. More treatment options include:
- Fluid intake: Drink plenty of water and avoid alcoholic beverages.
- Diet restriction: Avoid foods and beverages high in purines.
- Immobilization: Avoid standing and walking to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Colchicine: A pain reliever prescribed to reduce inflammation and prevent future attacks.
- Corticosteroids: A pain reliever prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation for those who can't take NSAIDs or colchicine.
Implementing lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, increasing your fluid intake, limiting alcohol intake and reducing the number of meals rich in purines like meat and fish can help regulate and prevent flare-ups.
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