The following describes the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of gout. For specific information regarding your health and treatment options, please contact your Hurley physician or medical professional.
What is gout?
Gout is a type of arthritis which causes swollen, red, and painful joints. It often affects the big toe, but can also affect other joints in the body as well. Gout typically appears in the form of flare-ups known as gout attacks.
What causes gout?
Gout is caused by increased levels of uric acid in the body, which can cause the formation of tiny urate crystals on the tissues of joints. High levels of uric acid can be caused by a number of factors such as the body’s overproduction of uric acid, the body’s failure to eliminate enough acid, diet and lifestyle, side effects from certain medications, and complications associated with other medical conditions including diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, and leukemia. Gout tends to run in families and is more likely to occur in men, especially those that drink alcohol.
What are the symptoms of gout?
- A warm, red, swollen joint
- Throbbing pain in the affected joint, often starting during the night
How is gout diagnosed?
Your Hurley physician may conduct a blood test to determine uric acid levels and a joint fluid test to check for urate crystals. X-rays may also be ordered to determine the damage to the joint.
How is gout treated?
Your physician may recommend diet and lifestyle changes to treat your gout, such as following a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet and avoiding alcohol. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, or other prescription medications may be used for relief of pain and swelling. Ice packs can be used to reduce swelling when your joint becomes inflamed during a gout attack.
Surgery is only necessary in very severe cases where there has been considerable damage to the affected joint.