Gout

Treatment

Also known as gouty arthritis, gout is a form of intensely painful and disabling inflammatory arthritis, usually involving a single joint but occasionally involving two or more joints. Gout is caused when increased levels of uric acid in your blood result in urate crystals being formed in a joint, typically your big toe.

This causes intense pain and inflammation which can often get worse at night.

Although there is no medical cure for gout and it is a chronic condition, it can be effectively treated using prescription medications and lifestyle changes recommended by health care professionals with medical licenses.

Gout symptoms are generally sudden and severe in the affected joint, often in the big toe, though it can occur in other joints. Common gout symptoms can include:

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Intense and sudden joint pain

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Swelling and inflammation

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Limited mobility from the affected joint

Gout causes and symptoms are primarily the result of an excess of uric acid in the bloodstream, a condition known as hyperuricemia. This excessive uric acid can lead to the formation of urate crystals, which can accumulate in the joints, typically in the big toe but also in other joints. Also decided by lifestyle factors and habits, what causes gout can also include: 

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A diet rich in meat and seafood

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Drinking alcohol, especially beer

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Drinking sweetened drinks

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Obesity

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Certain medications such as thiazide diuretics and aspirin

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Genetics

A gout diagnosis typically is attained by the doctor learning of the patient’s medical history and conducting a physical examination of the affected area. In some instances, laboratory tests may be needed to rule out other conditions and to confirm the exact result. These tests can include: 

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Blood tests

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Dual-energy CT scan

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Joint aspiration

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Joint X-rays

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Uric acid urine and blood tests

Gout treatment includes a combination of medications and lifestyle modifications. During gout attacks, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or colchicine can be prescribed to alleviate pain and inflammation. For long-term management, urate-lowering medications like allopurinol or febuxostat are used to lower uric acid levels in the blood, reducing the risk of future attacks. Dietary changes, such as reducing high-purine foods and alcohol, and maintaining a healthy weight, play a crucial role in preventing gout flares. Staying well-hydrated and engaging in regular physical activity are also recommended. 

Available gout medication offered by CallonDoc will most often be analgesics, best known for providing pain relief. Combined with lifestyle adjustments, these prescriptions provide effective gout treatment and can include: 

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Indomethacin

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Naproxen

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Diclofenac

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Steroid-taper

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Colchicine

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Allopurinol

At home, individuals can take several steps to help manage gout effectively. Dietary changes are crucial; limiting high-purine foods like red meat and seafood, reducing alcohol consumption (especially beer), and staying well-hydrated can help lower uric acid levels. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise is also important, as excess weight can contribute to gout flares. During gout attacks, resting the affected joint and applying ice can provide relief. Additionally, there are some dietary additions that have been reported to help, including: 

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Bananas

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Dandelion 

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Ginger

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Hibiscus

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Magnesium

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Milk thistle

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Nettle 

Ongoing management for gout involves a combination of lifestyle modifications and prescribed gout medications. This typically includes adhering to a low-purine diet, maintaining a healthy weight, staying well-hydrated, and avoiding known triggers like alcohol. In some cases, urate-lowering medications may be prescribed to reduce uric acid levels in the blood. Monitoring of uric acid levels by a medical provider should be considered to help minimize future gout flares and to avoid complications. 

To avoid gout, individuals can take several proactive steps. It's crucial to maintain a balanced, low-purine diet by limiting or avoiding high-purine foods such as red meat, organ meats, shellfish, and certain seafood. Moderating alcohol intake, particularly beer, and staying well-hydrated are essential. Maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise and healthy eating can also reduce the risk of gout. Avoiding sudden, drastic weight changes and injury to joints is important, as these can trigger gout attacks. Lastly, it's advisable to be aware of family history and potential genetic predispositions to gout and to seek medical guidance if there is a concern.

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