What are the symptoms? What are the risk factors for gout? How is gout diagnosed and treated? Who should diagnose and treat the condition? How can gout be treated? How can I improve my quality life? Gout is a very common form of inflammatory arthritis. Gout usually affects one joint at time (often the big-toe joint). There are times when symptoms are worse, called flares, and others when they are not. Gouty arthritis can be worsened by repeated bouts of gout. Gout is a condition that cannot be treated. However, you can manage it with medication and self-management strategies. What are the symptoms of gout and what can they be? Gout flares can be sudden and last for days or even weeks. These flares are followed up by long periods without symptoms for remission, which can last weeks, months, or even years.
Gout typically affects one joint at a given time. Gout is most common in the big toe. The big toe is often affected, as well as the lesser toe joints and the ankle. Hyperuricemia is a condition that causes gout. It is when there is too much of uric acid in your body. When your body breaks down purines (which are found in your body as well as the foods you eat), uric acid is made. Uric acid crystals (monosodium-urate) can form in the joints, fluids, tissues, and other areas of the body when there is too much. Gout is not always caused by hyperuricemia. What can increase your chances of developing gout? How is gout diagnosed and treated? Gout is diagnosed by a doctor after examining your symptoms, X-rays, lab tests, and physical examination.
Gout can only diagnosed when a flare occurs when a joint becomes hot, swollen and painful. Who should diagnose and treat Gout? Gout should be diagnosed by a doctor or team of doctors who are experts in treating gout patients. Because gout symptoms are not always specific, they can mimic symptoms of other inflammatory conditions. Rheumatologists are doctors who specialize in gout or other forms of arthritis. Visit the American College of Rheumatology website to find a provider near your location. Once your gout has been diagnosed and treated by a rheumatologist, a primary care provider can often track your condition and help with your gout management.
How is gout treated? Gout can be managed effectively with both medical treatment and self management strategies. Manage the flare-like symptoms. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, steroids and anti-inflammatory drug collchicine, are used to treat flares. Prevent future flares. Future attacks can be prevented by making lifestyle and diet changes such as losing weight, limiting alcohol intake, and eating less purine-rich foods (such as red meat or organ meat). It may also be beneficial to stop or change medications that cause hyperuricemia (like diuretics). To prevent kidney stones and tophi from forming due to chronically high levels of uric acids, Tophi are hard, under-the-skin deposits of uric acid.
People with chronic gout or frequent flares may be recommended preventive therapy to lower blood uric acid levels using drugs such as allopurinol and febuxostat. You can manage your gout using self-management strategies. Self-management is what your body does every day to manage your condition. It includes making healthy lifestyle choices. These self-management strategies have been shown to reduce pain and disability so that you can continue to do the things you love.
How can I manage my arthritis and improve my quality life? Gout can affect many aspects of your daily life, including work and leisure. There are many low-cost self management strategies that can improve the quality and life of people suffering from gout. Healthy eating habits are important. Avoid foods that can trigger a flare-up of gout, such as foods high in purines, red meat, organ meats, seafood, and alcohol. The CDC’s Arthritis Program suggests five self-management strategies to manage arthritis and its symptoms. These strategies can also be helpful for gout. Learn self-management skills.
Take a self-management class to help people with arthritis or other chronic conditions, such as gout. It will help them understand how arthritis affects their lives, and increase their confidence in managing their symptoms and living well. Learn more about the CDC-recommended self management education programs. Get active. Experts recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. Every minute counts and any activity is better that none. Walking, swimming, and biking are all good options for moderately low-impact activities. Regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing other chronic diseases like stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. Find out more about arthritis physical activity. Find out about effective physical activity programs. Participation in physical activity programs can help with arthritis pain and disability, as well as improve mood and ability to move. Classes are held at your local Y, parks, or community centers. These classes can make arthritis sufferers feel better. Find out more about the CDC-recommended programs for physical activity.
Gout is when crystals of this organic acids build up in joints. Gout can cause severe pain, which can be worsened by light pressure such as a blanket. The affected area can become extremely tender, warm, and swell. The affected area may cause skin to peel and restrict movement. Kidney stones can also be caused by excess of this material. Although many of these stones go unnoticed, larger ones can lodge in the ureter. This can cause pain in your groin, back and abdomen as well as side or genitals.
Stones can cause frequent, painful urination, nausea, vomiting, and blood in the urine. A person could be suffering from kidney failure if their urine flow begins to decrease, and there is swelling in the extremities, confusion, shortness of breath, and drowsiness. These conditions may also be caused by other medical conditions. Your doctor will be able to tell you if the symptoms are uric acid related or other health issues. It is important to change your diet and to avoid foods high in purines, which can lead to more severe symptoms.