These four words best describe a gout attack.
Gout is a type of arthritis. It occurs when there is too much uric acid circulating in our blood. Uric acid is a normal substance in our bodies, but if we have too much uric acid, it can crystallize in joints. When that happens, the pain, swelling and redness occur. If you look at gout crystals under a microscope, they look like shards of glass. Most often the big toe joint is the site of an attack, but other peripheral joints, usually in the foot, are susceptible as well. A simple blood test can reveal if you have too much uric acid.
Who is likely to get gout?
Men are more susceptible, but post menopausal women are also at risk. Certain medications can also increase the likelihood of an attack.
How is gout treated?
Initially, medications are used to eliminate the painful symptoms. Anti-inflammatory medications such as Celebrex or indocin are commonly used. Sometimes a stronger medicine such as prednisone is needed for a few days to halt the pain from gout.
Prevent Future Attacks
Once you have had a gout attack, you can prevent another one of these painful episodes.
From a dietary standpoint, cutting back on alcohol and red meat consumption are important. Making sure you drink ample water during the day may help as well. If you are taking any medications, talk to your primary care doctor to see if any of these may have played a roll.
Increased uric acid in your blood occurs when your body produces too much of this substance or when you do not excrete enough through your urine. There are medications that can treat these conditions. These medications are usually reserved for people who have had more than one attack.
Gout attacks are very painful. A quick diagnosis and treatment can rapidly eliminate your pain. If left untreated the pain can last for many days or weeks and can recur frequently. Repeated gout attacks can cause permanent joint damage.
We Can Help
If you think you have gout, call our office so Dr Helms or Dr Bowers can help you find quick relief.