Gout

This article does not constitute as medical advice.
If you are experiencing symptoms, contact your doctor or make an appointment.

What is Gout?

Gout is an arthritic condition that is the result of a build-up of uric acid. As the acid builds, urate crystals form and accumulate at the joint. It usually affects only one of the big toes, causing severe pain, redness, and swelling. These attacks mainly occur suddenly in the middle of the night and can typically be treated with medication. However, if left untreated, gout can lead to more severe conditions such as kidney stones. This condition can be preventable through lifestyle habits such as diet. Gout is more common in men than women. Still, women are likely to develop this condition after menopause.

Causes of  Gout

This ailment is caused by an accumulation of too much uric acid in the blood. When we break down purine chemical compounds, our bodies produce this acid. If there is more uric acid in our bodies than we can excrete, inflammation known as gout occurs. There are several causes of gout, such as: 

  • Diet: Foods that increase the production of uric acid can lead to this condition. Those who have a diet heavy in shellfish, red meat, organ meat, and high fructose corn syrup are prone to this. Those who are obese also have a more challenging time expelling uric acid. 
  • Alcohol: Heavy drinkers are more inclined to gout. Those who are prone to this condition should avoid beer in particular. 
  • Gender: Men are more likely to have high levels of uric acid. 
  • Hereditary: Check your family’s history to see if you are predisposed to these attacks. 
  • Medications: Find which drugs increase your risk here
  • Health issues: Traumas such as recent surgeries or vaccines can put you in jeopardy of an attack. Chronic illnesses like high blood pressure and diabetes can be a trigger. 

Symptoms of Gout

This condition can be difficult to self-diagnose because symptoms are similar to other conditions such as hyperuricemia. Here are some common signs that you have developed gout: 

  • Sudden and severe pain in the middle of the night 
  • Only one big toe is swollen and tender 
    • Though less common, gout can also occur in fingers, elbows, knees, and other parts of the foot 
  • In some cases, this inflammation reoccurs every few months 

Treating Gout

 

Prevention 

  • Avoid a diet high in uric acid. Don’t eat excessive amounts of shellfish, organ meat, red meat, alcohol, and sugar. 
  • Eat a diet that reduces uric acid. Include vitamin C, lentils, berries, whole grains, and water in your regimen. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Treatment 

  • Application of an icepack or cooling gels
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Medications that reduce uric acid 
  • Specialized prescribed medication by our office

Gout

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