4 Questions to Ask A Gout Specialist
If you have questions about gout, trust the medical professionals at Bay Area Foot & Ankle Associates to answer all of your concerns. Our gout specialist can help you recover faster and more effectively. Call us today or schedule an appointment. We have 3 convenient locations to serve you in Walnut Creek, CA and Brentwood, CA.
Table of Contents:
What is gout?
What is the main cause of gout?
What foods trigger gout?
What are the stages of gout?
What are my treatment options for gout?
Gout is a common condition, affecting over eight million people in the United States, or about 4% of the population. Its name is derived from medieval latin ‘gutta,’ which literally means ‘drop,’ as gout was believed to be caused by the dropping of diseased matter from the blood into the joints.
Gout is a painful form of arthritic inflammation that typically only affects one joint at a time, most commonly the big toe. Gout symptoms are generally categorized into two groups: flares, which are active times of worsening symptoms, and remission, which are times when there are no symptoms. The condition occurs when urate crystals accumulate in the joint, causing symptoms of discomfort and intense pain. These flares are often referred to as a gout attack.
Gout is caused by a condition called hyperuricemia. This condition occurs when there is too much uric acid in the body, which can accumulate in the joints and cause intense pain. When the body breaks down purines, it makes uric acid, which are found in the body and the foods we consume.
Foods that are high in purine and fructose can trigger gout flare-ups, including:
• All organ meats: These include kidneys, liver, sweetbreads (thymus gland or pancreas) and brains
• Game meats: Examples include pheasant, veal and venison
• Fish: Mackerel, trout, tuna, anchovies, sardines, haddock, herring and more
• Other seafood: Scallops, crab, shrimp and roe
• Sugary beverages: Especially fruit juices and sugary sodas
• Added sugars: This includes high-fructose corn syrup, agave nectar and honey
• Yeasts: Brewer’s yeast, nutritional yeast, and other yeast supplements.
There are four stages of gout:
Stage 1: High Uric Acid Levels: Also called asymptomatic hyperuricemia, this is the beginning stage of gout. Uric acid builds up in the blood and starts to form crystals around the joints, most often in the foot or big toe. Higher levels of uric acid can be caused by:
• Kidney disease
• Taking diuretics
• Drinking alcohol in excess
• Underactive thyroid
• Genes/family history
• Eating a high-purine diet
Stage 2: Acute Gout: During stage 2, a sudden, unexpected nighttime attack of gout symptoms may occur. This is when the urate crystals build up in the body and cause a painful inflammatory reaction.
Stage 3: Intercritical Gout: Although some people can go years before another attack, after their first gout flare, 75 percent of people will have a second within a year. Stage three of gout is an in-between stage where a person has already had a gout flare but is presently not having any joint pain or swelling.
Stage 4: Chronic Gout: Because the uric acid deposits can form nodules called “tophi” (singular tophus), this stage is also called “tophaceous gout.” Tophi can form anywhere in the body. During this stage, a person can have some joint pain from gout that is persistent.
The treatment options for gout depend on its severity and how the patient responds to treatment. Typically, the first line of treatment for acute gout is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), corticosteroids, or colchicine. In more severe or chronic cases, treatment may include xanthine oxidase inhibitors (XOI) or uricosuric drugs.
If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of gout, trust the medical professionals at Bay Area Foot & Ankle Associates to help you find relief. Our kind and compassionate professionals are experienced in treating gout and can help you heal quicker and more effectively. Call us today to book an appointment. We look forward to serving you!
We serve patients from Walnut Creek CA, Brentwood CA, Concord CA, Pleasant Hill CA, Pittsburg CA, Antioch CA, Alamo CA, Danville CA, and Oakley CA.
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