Everything You Need to Know About Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis that causes pain and swelling in one or more joints. It most commonly affects the joint at the base of the big toe. It can be extremely painful, enough so that it might even wake you from a deep sleep.

More than 8 million Americans live with gout, so if you have it, you’re not alone. While there’s no cure, there are things you can do to manage it. Kerry E. Berg, DPM, at Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates offers this helpful guide on how to deal with gout. 

What is gout?

Gout is a form of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. Your body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines, which are both naturally present in your body and in certain foods. 

Normally, your body eliminates uric acid by way of your urine. However, if there’s too much uric acid in your body or if not enough of it is excreted, uric acid crystals can form. These crystals often concentrate in joints, which can lead to the inflammatory condition called gout. Gout tends to be cyclical in nature. Gout sufferers often have periodic flares followed by periods of remission.  

Risk factors for gout

Gout used to be known as the “disease of kings,” as a diet high in purine-rich foods can increase the risk of developing the condition, and only the wealthy used to be able to afford such a diet. However, as purine-rich foods ― such as alcohol, red meat, and tuna ― have gained greater prominence in our diets, the incidence of gout has increased over the past 20 years

Many factors can contribute to developing gout, including the following:

How to manage gout

Gout often becomes a chronic condition, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Many cases of gout can be prevented by making lifestyle changes.

In the midst of an active gout flareup, you should call for an appointment. Gout attacks often require medical attention. For the inflammation, we can prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. We can also prescribe colchicine to help treat and prevent gout attacks.

But the best thing you can do is try to prevent the next gout attack from happening. You can help prevent gout attacks by doing the following:

Gout can be painful, but there are things you can do to help treat and prevent it. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates today.

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