Gout: What is it and How is it Treated?
Gout is a very common inflammatory arthritis that is seen in patients of various ages. What makes gout so frustrating for those who deal with it is the symptoms can come and go with extreme pain. There are a variety of factors that cause gout, but luckily all of these can be prevented with a few lifestyle changes. Keep reading to learn more about gout and how you can treat it.
What is Gout?
Gout is inflammatory arthritis that tends to affect one joint at a time. It comes with on and off symptoms that are extremely painful and have been described as severe attacks of pain, swelling, and tenderness of the joints. Many people will go through what’s called “remission” and not experience any symptoms of gout, and then wake up in the middle of the night with pain. Despite the pain and persistence of gout, it can be prevented and treated.
Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the body. This acid level is increased by:
Diet. Eating foods that are high in sugar like fast food, alcohol, and sugary drinks increase the production of uric acid in the body. It’s recommended to eat a healthy and balanced diet and limit the intake of alcohol.
Weight. Those who are overweight are more likely to have gout because their bodies produce more uric acid at a certain weight and the kidneys can not filter it out fast enough.
Age and gender. Gout occurs more commonly in men because men have higher levels of uric acid than women. However, after women go through menopause their uric acid levels are almost as high as men’s.
Medical conditions. Certain diseases and conditions can increase your chance of gout. These include undiagnosed high blood pressure and chronic conditions such as diabetes, and heart and kidney diseases.
Genetics - If you have a family history of gout, there is a higher chance that you will develop it too.
Gout can be treated and managed by medications and daily lifestyle changes. Your Podiatrist will help you create a custom treatment plan that is best suited for you.
The first step is managing the pain with anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and steroids. You can also prevent future flare-ups by making changes to your diet and lifestyle, such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol, and eating less purine-rich foods. Changing or stopping medications such as hyperuricemia can also help prevent uric acid levels rising.
We recommend you consult a Podiatrist or your primary care doctor before attempting to diagnose or treat gout. At Total Foot Care & Wellness Clinic, we are here to help! Please reach out to schedule an appointment if you believe you have gout.