Are You Dealing with Gout?
Find out if that severe pain in your big toe( or other joints) could be caused by gouty arthritis.
Gout, a specific type of arthritis that most frequently affects the big toe, is sometimes called the “disease of kings” because it has often been connected with being a glutton for rich and plentiful foods and alcohol. However, you don’t have to be a king (or live like one) in order to develop gout. From the office of our Haddon Heights, NJ, Board Certified Rheumatologist Mark Fisher MD FACR, find out more about gout, its symptoms and how to manage painful flare-ups and most importantly reduce the risk of damaging destructive arthritis and other organ damage as well.
What are the symptoms of gout?
Gout attacks are sudden and usually severe, leading to redness, inflammation and tenderness of the joints. Usually the joints of the big toe are most frequently affected and are the earliest joints impacted by this genetically related disease of the joints. It may feel as if your toe is on fire. Gout pain can be so bad that they can wake you up in the middle of the night and such attacks typically start abruptly, going bed feeling well and awakening unable to bear the pain from this tender swollen joint. Sometimes large nodules or lumps called tophi can develop and these are hard collections of uric acid.
What causes gout?
An excess of uric acid in the body results in the development of uric acid crystals in the joints.
Mostly, this is genetically related. Certain medications or diets can also increase the amount of uric acid in your body, which can lead to a flare-up. Some of these medications and foods include,
· Red meat
· Excess alcohol
· Sugary foods and drinks
Men are more likely than women to develop gout, and those with kidney disease are also at an increased risk of gout. Those who are obese or have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes are also at an increased risk. Dehydration and severe dieting can trigger such attacks.
How is gout treated?
The goal of treatment is to reduce flare-ups and to help you manage your symptoms more effectively. Gout is typically treated with a medication to reduce the acute pain and inflammation such as NSAIDS, anti-inflammatories, if it safe for a patient to take these.
Once the episode has resolved, preventive therapy is instituted to reduce the level of uric acid in the body.
Sometimes an injection into the joint with steroids is needed to reduce the inflammation if oral medications are not possible. Our Haddon Heights, NJ, Rheumatology Physician, Dr. Mark Fisher, will talk to you about your treatment options for managing gout flare-ups.
Lifestyle modifications are also an important part of treating gout. Avoid foods and drinks that contain sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, as well as alcohol, shellfish and red meat. Eating a gout-friendly diet can be helpful in managing flares, but the most potent treatments would be medications to reduce the uric acid levels.
Gout can be well managed today with the available treatments and severe joint damage, cardiac and renal effects of this ailment can be prevented.
If you are dealing with any of the symptoms above and living in the South Jersey community, feel free to call and please contact our Board Certified Rheumatologist Mark Fisher MD FACR as soon as possible for care. Call our office today and let us know that you are experiencing symptoms associated with possible gout.