The Role Of Blood Tests
With no definitive blood test available for RA, doctors instead look for certain antibodies in the blood that would suggest its presence, such as antinuclear antibodies, rheumatoid factor, and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies. Your rheumatologist will also order a complete blood count to see if you have anemia, which is common among those with RA.
RA is more difficult to identify than gout because measuring the amount of uric acid in the blood is considered a definitive test for gout, Dr. Portnoff says. However, levels of uric acid are actually lower during a gout flare, so your doctor will want to repeat the test when symptoms subside.
The Role Of Imaging Tests
Both RA and gout can cause joint erosion, so rheumatologists will order X-rays to look for this. X-rays can also detect the beginnings of tophi, but Dr. Portnoff says theyre not an essential part of the diagnostic process for gout because a patients clinical history, physical exam, and uric acid testing will identify gout.
Ten Tips For Beating Gout
If you have gout, use these nutrition tips to lower your risk:
See your GP to check or monitor gout risk factors
Drink up to four cups of regular or decaffeinated coffee a day
Have two to three serves of reduced-fat or skim dairy foods daily
Eat cherries regularly . Add to breakfast cereal and snacks, or mix with yoghurt
Avoid fasting and feasting. Both increase purine turnover and blood uric acid
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Arthritis / Acute Gout Attack
Gout is a form of arthritis, hence it causes pain and discomfort in the joints. A typical gout attack is characterized by the sudden onset of severe pain, swelling, warmth, and redness of a joint. The clinical presentation of acute gouty arthritis is not subtle with very few mimics other than a bacterial infection.
The joint most commonly involved in gout is the first metatarsophalangeal joint , and is called podagra. Any joint may be involved in a gout attack with the most frequent sites being in the feet, ankles, knees, and elbows.
An acute gout attack will generally reach its peak 12-24 hours after onset, and then will slowly begin to resolve even without treatment. Full recovery from a gout attack takes approximately 7-14 days.
An accurate and colorful discription of a gout attack was elegantly written in 1683 by Dr. Thomas Sydenham who was himself a sufferer of gout:
Who Is Affected By Gout
Gout can affect anyone. It usually occurs earlier in men than women. It generally occurs after menopause in women. Men can be three times more likely than women to get it because they have higher levels of uric acid most of their lives. Women reach these uric acid levels after menopause.
People are more likely to get gout if they have:
- Obesity, or a lot of extra weight.
You are also more likely to develop gout if you:
- Consume a diet high in animal proteins
- Consume a significant amount of alcohol
- Are on water pills .
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Rheumatoid Arthritis Vs Gout: Causes And Risk Factors
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, meaning, the bodys immune system attacks the joints wrongfully, setting off the symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation causes the synovium to thicken, which over time destroys the cartilage, allowing bones to rub together.
Risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis include being a female, being over the age of 40, having a family history of RA, smoking, being exposed to environmental pollutants, and being obese.
Gout is a result of crystallized uric acid, which occurs when a person has high levels of uric acid in their blood. Uric acid results from the breakdown of purines found in some foods like red meat and alcohol.
Normally, uric acid passes through our systems and is released through our urine, but with excessively high levels, the uric acid can build up and crystallize in joints and surrounding tissues, causing discomforting symptoms.
Risk factors for gout include eating a diet high in uric acid-promoting purines, being overweight or obese, having an untreated medical condition like hypertension, taking certain medications, having a family history of gout, being male over the age of 40, and recovering from a recent surgery or trauma.
Gout Vs Rheumatoid Arthritis: Differences Based On Treatments
Treating Gout includes resting the joint and applying ice, NSAIDS, Corticosteroids, painkiller like Colchicine, medications that target uric acid production or excretion, healthy diet that is low in purines.
Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis include NSAIDs, Steroids, Corticosteroids, Antimalarial like Plaquenil etc.
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Stay A Healthy Weight
The most important relationship between diet and arthritis is weight. Excess weight can make some specialist medications ineffective, may increase disease activity and delay remission. If you are carrying more body weight than you should, try and lose the excess weight by combining healthy eating with regular exercise.
How To Prevent Gout Attacks
Theres nothing you can do about your genetics, but you can make healthy lifestyle changes that may help reduce the likelihood of developing gout. They include:
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Differences Between Ra And Gout
Both diseases cause redness, swelling, and pain in the joints. Both can cause serious disability and disrupt your quality of life.
However, a close look at initial signs and which joints are involved will clearly differentiate these two diseases. The best way to know whether you have RA or gout is to make an appointment with your doctor for a diagnosis.
Specific signs that distinguish the diseases:
Gout And Kidney Disease
Gout is more common in kidney disease because the body has difficulty getting rid of uric acid in the urine.
There are several types of inherited kidney disease that are associated with a high frequency of gout. These conditions are studied by the Rare Inherited Kidney Disease Research Team at Wake Forest School of Medicine, led by Anthony Bleyer, M.D., M.S., a professor in the Section of Nephrology. The conditions that cause gout and kidney disease include uromodulin kidney disease and inherited kidney disease due to mutations in renin. These conditions are inherited, often with many family members affected. Sometimes, only a parent and child are affected in a family.
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Diseases And Health Conditions That Mimic Rheumatoid Arthritis
Arthritis is a painful and debilitating disease that is associated with significant joint stiffness and pain. There are several different subtypes of arthritis, which include degenerative arthritis, inflammatory or autoimmune arthritis, infectious arthritis and metabolic arthritis.
One of the most common subtypes of inflammatory arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which is so prevalent that studies estimate that it affects up to one percent of the worlds population. However, rheumatoid arthritis can often be difficult to diagnose as its symptoms share a lot in common with those of several other conditions.
Consequently, rheumatoid arthritis can be often misdiagnosed as a different disease, or vice versa. These are the top diseases that rheumatoid arthritis mimics and can be misdiagnosed as:
What Does A Gout Attack Look And Feel Like What Would A Foot Or Toe With Gout Look Like
When gout occurs, the joint tends to be extremely painful and is warm, red and swollen . The inflammation that is part of a gout attack is systemic, so that fever and chills, fatigue and malaise are not uncommonly part of the picture of a gout attack.
Figure 6: Toe with Acute Attack of Gout
Gout attacks can occur in joints that look normal, or in joints that have easily visible deposits of uric acid. These deposits are called tophi and can be in numerous locations, but especially on the feet and elbows. In Figure 9, the little finger of the right hand is bandaged since fluid was just removed from it, which demonstrated innumerable uric acid crystals.
Figure 7a: Tophi on Foot
Figure 7b: Tophus Over Achilles’ Tendon
Figure 8: Tophus on Elbow
Figure 9: Tophi on Hands
Figure 10: Large Tophus of Finger
While some gout attacks will solve quickly by themselves, the majority will go on for a week, several weeks, or even longer if not treated. Since gout attacks are usually quite painful and often make walking difficult, most gout sufferers will request specific treatment for their painful condition.
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What Is The Difference Between Rheumatoid Arthritis And Gout
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, meaning it is a condition in which the bodys immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues. It is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by inflammation and pain in the joints. Symptoms usually consist of tender, swollen, warm joints, with stiffness in the morning or after a period of inactivity. Additional symptoms can include fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite. The joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis tends to start in the small joints of the hands and feet and is usually symmetrical . RA can later spread to larger joints like the wrists, elbows, knees, ankles, shoulders, and hips as the disease progresses.
Blood Test For Uric Acid Level
A blood test may be done to measure uric acid level in the blood. Since uric acid can fall during an attack, the uric acid may not be elevated at that time. Some doctors may wait until several days after the attack to order a blood test. Nearly all people with gout have elevated uric acid in this case, although not all people with elevated uric acid have gout. Therefore the blood uric acid is only one part of making the diagnosis.
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How Can I Manage My Gout And Improve My Quality Of Life
Gout affects many aspects of daily living, including work and leisure activities. Fortunately, there are many low-cost self-management strategies that are proven to improve the quality of life of people with gout.
For gout in particular:
- Eat a healthy diet. Avoid foods that may trigger a gout flare, including foods high in purines , and limit alcohol intake .
CDCs Arthritis Program recommends five self-management strategies for managing arthritis and its symptoms. These can help with gout as well.
What Is Osteoarthritis Rheumatoid Arthritis And Gout And How Can They Be Treated See Diagram And Video
What is arthritis? The word arthritis is a general term, not a specific illness. Most everyone knows that if someone has arthritis, then that person is having a problem with their joints. But, most people do not realize that there are over 115 different arthritic diseases. The following explains the most common types of arthritis and a brief explanation about how we can help treat it.
What Are Some of the Most Common Types of Arthritis?
Osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis is the most common kind of arthritis. The problem in OA is the breakdown of cartilage in joints. This causes pain in the affected joint with use. For example, OA in the knee causes knee pain with walking or climbing steps.
Rheumatoid Arthritis In rheumatoid arthritis , inflammation causes the joints to be swollen, stiff, and tender. Unlike OA, however, the inflamed joints in RA will often feel better with use. Because it is an inflammatory illness, RA can affect other parts of the body, including the skin, nerves, heart, and lungs.
Gout Gout is caused by uric acid, a chemical made by the body, which gets into the joints. It causes sudden episodes of very painful, swollen joints.
How We Help Treat Arthritis?
It is important to have an evaluation to determine which arthritic disease is causing the problem. Like other illnesses, early diagnosis and treatment of arthritis can impact the outcome of the illness.
Contact Us For More Information to Request an Appointment
About Tristate Arthritis and Rheumatology
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People With Arthritis Might Want To Avoid These Foods
While there is no list of arthritis-triggering foods that all people with arthritis should avoid regardless of their health circumstances and specific condition , there are certain foods that may promote inflammation and possibly aggravate symptoms. Whether or not a specific type of food is problematic can vary from person to person. If you have arthritis, you might want to experiment with limiting certain foods in your diet to see if you get some arthritis relief. Heres what you need to know.
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What Can Be Mistaken For Uric Acid Collection In Gout
A condition called pseudogout can sometimes be mistaken for gout. This is a condition in which there is deposition of calcium pyrophosphate in the joints . Also, septic arthritis is in the differential diagnosis for gout. Septic arthritis is joint pain and inflammation due to an infectious agent in the joint. Doctors can use blood tests and radiographic imaging to make the correct diagnosis.
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What Can Cause Gouty Arthritis
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Causes Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means your immune system attacks the cells that line your joints by mistake, making the joints swollen, stiff and painful.
Over time, this can damage the joints, cartilage and nearby bone.
It’s not clear what triggers this problem with the immune system, although you’re at an increased risk if:
- you are a woman
Find out more about the causes of rheumatoid arthritis.
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Vegetables From The Nightshade Family
Many vegetables from the Nightshade family have been implicated as RA triggers such as tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant etc. The previous explanation for this was their immunogenic nature and induction of antibodies but a recent theory suggests that, like some citrus fruits, it is the high salicylate content in these vegetables that triggers RA symptoms. In accordance with this theory, few members of this plant family having low salicylate content such as some varieties of potatoes can be added to diet with fewer risk of adverse effects.
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Who Should Diagnose And Treat Gout
The disease should be diagnosed and treated by a doctor or a team of doctors who specialize in care of gout patients. This is important because the signs and symptoms of gout are not specific and can look like signs and symptoms of other inflammatory diseases. Doctors who specialize in gout and other forms of arthritis are called rheumatologists. To find a provider near you, visit the database of rheumatologistsexternal icon on the American College of Rheumatology website. Once a rheumatologist has diagnosed and effectively treated your gout, a primary care provider can usually track your condition and help you manage your gout.
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