Gout Treatment Questions and Answers
If you have gout or are experiencing its symptoms, come to Bay Area Foot & Ankle Associates in Rossmoor (Walnut Creek), CA for treatment today. Call us to book an appointment.
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Gout is a condition that is marked by excessive levels of uric acid in the blood. It is characterized by a very painful, inflamed, and swollen joint usually at the base of the big toe. If left untreated, hard, boney masses called tophi form around the joints. Fortunately, when treated early, gout can be effectively managed with the pain and joint damage kept to a minimum.
Gout is caused initially by an excess amount of uric acid in the blood, which is also known as hyperuricemia. Uric acid is produced in the body when it breaks down purines in the process of oxidation. Purines are chemical compounds that are found in high amounts in certain foods, typically high-protein foods such as poultry, meat and seafood.
Uric acid is normally dissolved in the blood and excreted from the body through urine via the kidneys. If not enough uric acid is excreted or too much is produced, it can build up and form needle-like crystals that trigger pain and inflammation in and around the joints and surrounding tissue.
Because its symptoms are similar to other conditions, gout can sometimes be tricky to diagnose. Although hyperuricemia may not be present during a flare-up, it occurs in the majority of people that develop gout. In addition to this, the majority of people with hyperuricemia do not develop gout.
One diagnostic test that doctors can carry out to determine the presence of gout is the joint fluid test, where fluid is extracted with a needle from the affected joint. After it has been extracted, the fluid is then examined to see if any urate crystals are present.
In order to rule out a bacterial cause, a doctor can look for bacteria when carrying out a joint fluid test as joint infections can also cause similar symptoms to gout. The fluid may need to be sent to a lab, where it can take several days or even weeks to analyze.
The prevalence of gout in the United States has risen over the last two decades and now affects approximately 4% of the population, or 8.3 million Americans. Gout is more common in men than in women with the peak age for men being 30 to 50 and for women being age 50 to 75.
Treatments for gout are designed to reduce the frequency of attacks or the pain and inflammation of individual attacks. Traditional treatments include taking certain medications and making dietary changes.
Diet Modification: Adjusting diet is one of the most important ways to reduce the number of acute gout attacks one experiences. The ultimate goal of these changes is to lower the levels of uric acid in the blood. The following dietary changes can reduce gout symptoms:
• Reduce or eliminate alcohol, especially beer
• Drink lots of water or other nonalcoholic beverages
• Eat more low-fat or nonfat dairy products
• Avoid high-purine foods, including organ meats and oily fish, such as:
• Limit meat in favor of plant-based proteins
• Eat complex carbohydrates, such as:
• Whole-grain breads
• Avoid sugary sweets and refined carbohydrates like white bread
Medications: Medication is commonly prescribed to treat gout, and includes the following:
• The following medications are used to manage the pain and inflammation associated with acute gout attacks:
— Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
• Certain medicines, such as xanthine oxidase inhibitors can reduce the amount of uric acid produced by the body.
Other drugs, like probenecid, improve the kidneys’ ability to remove uric acid from the blood.
If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms related to gout, come to Bay Area Foot & Ankle Associates today for treatment. Our kind and compassionate professionals are experienced in treating gout and can help you find relief. Call us today to book an appointment. We look forward to serving you!
We serve patients from Rossmoor (Walnut Creek) CA, Alamo CA, Danville CA, Moraga CA, and Lafayette CA.
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