Got Gout?

It’s a Friday night. You’ve had a long day at work and just got home from eating seafood and drinking beer with your friends at your favorite restaurant. You lie down in bed and close your eyes for sleep. However, at midnight, you’re woken up by a sharp pain in your big toe and think it’s on fire. Ouch! What on Earth is happening?

You might have gout.

What Is Gout?

Known as one of the most frequently recorded issues in medical history, gout (also known as gouty arthritis) is a common form of inflammatory arthritis that is characterized by red, swelling joints. It has a tendency to appear in your big toe first and can appear in any of your joints such as elbows, knees or even fingers.

Gout will have “flares” (where the symptoms will appear and get worse) lasting from anywhere between a few days to a few weeks and then disappear. Eventually, these attacks will return and last longer if nothing is done to alleviate the issue. Gout that continues to be untreated can lead to the formation of something called tophi under your skin which, although painless on its own, can also become swollen and tender during flares.

For more information about the basics of gouty arthritis, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/gout.html

What Causes Gout?

Some TV shows have portrayed a character that gets gout to either be obese or have been eating a poor diet. This is partially true. These things can lead to the problem but are not the only conditions in which gout will likely occur. Other variables include, but are not limited to:

  • Being male (gout is found to be more common in men)
  • Have family members with gout
  • Obesity
  • Current joint injuries or infections
  • Age (usually between the ages of 30 and 50)
  • Amount of alcohol consumed
  • Smoking
  • Certain occupations involving repetitive knee bending or squatting

There is one variable left to talk about: purines.

What Are Purines?

The CDC describes Purines as a compound found in your body and certain foods that will release uric acid when broken down; which in turn will begin to accumulate in the joints and tissue. Normally, the uric acid amassed will leave via urination. However, there are times where not enough can be excreted and will cause more issues such as kidney stones. Your chances of developing gout will rise BUT this does not mean you are guaranteed to be afflicted. Some people never exhibit symptoms and thus do not need to be treated.

Simply put – too much uric acid in the body increases your chances of having a gout attack. Try to avoid excess consumption of foods high in purines such as alcohol, sugary items, and certain seafood. A small list of specific can be found here from the Arthritis Foundation.

What Can I do?

Unfortunately, there is no current cure for gout. It is a long-term medical issue that many are forced to live with. Fortunately, due to this condition being so common, doctors everywhere have ideas on how to treat it and reduce your symptoms. Medication can be very helpful in dealing with the pain utilizing drugs to decrease inflammation and manage your uric acid levels in the bloodstream. Some lifestyle changes may be required to prevent future flares. Rest assured, you are not alone when it comes to gouty arthritis and there is an abundance of information on it today.

If you notice any symptoms or have any concerns about gout, please visit us at one of our three locations or check out our website at https://www.advancedinternalmedicinega.org/.