Whats The Outlook For People With Gout
Untreated gout can lead to permanent joint damage. The buildup of uric acid in the joints and soft tissue is called tophus. Some people with gout can also develop other health problems, such as severe arthritis, kidney stones and heart disease. Its important to discuss your symptoms with a healthcare provider.
Who Is At Risk Of Gout
Gout is sometimes called the disease of kings because of a false link to overindulgence in food and alcohol. Anyone can get the condition, but certain factors can increase your risk:
- Gender: Males are more likely to get gout than females.
- Age: Middle-aged and older men and women after menopause are more at risk for gout.
- Family history
- Diet: A diet high in purines, which are broken down into uric acid, can lead to gout. High purine foods include meats like bacon, turkey, veal, venison, and liver, and seafood like anchovies, sardines, mussels, codfish, scallops, trout, and haddock. High fructose foods and drinks such as soda pop also can increase your risk.
- Alcohol use
Gout Symptoms Knee Pain
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What Is The Prognosis Of Gout
Gout is a chronic condition. Left untreated, patients may suffer from recurrent painful and disabling acute attacks of gout. Joint damage and other complications of gout may occur. However, excellent treatments for gout are available, and most patients respond very well to gout treatment with a good prognosis.
Gout Vs Pseudogout: How Can We Tell
Pseudogout is inflammatory arthritis caused by the. the build-up of calcium crystals in joints. As the name suggests, pseudogout looks like gout.
Generally, it can be challenging to differentiate between the two. However, there are clues as to whether symptoms are pseudogout or gout.
First, unlike gout, pseudogout tends to affect older people in their 60s and 70s. Second, pseudogout affects the knees, ankles, and wrists rather than the toes. Finally, attacks of pseudogout can last for many weeks and sometimes months rather than days in gout.
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Is Knee Pain Due To Gout Or Something Else
Most people with gout in the knee experience intense pain during a gout attack. Swelling may also be noticeable during an active flare, as well as redness and warmth.
The pain may develop in the night and hurt continuously for up to two weeks before the flare subsides, with the most intense pain in the first 24 hours. But if gout is not treated, typically with medication to lower uric acid levels, gout flares will recur and over time and affect more joints, including the knee.
Doctors cant say for sure why gout flares occur more often at night but, according to a 2015 study, it might be because your body temperature goes down at night, which could make uric acid more likely to crystallize.
Although the pain of a gout attack is distinct, there may be other reasons for your knee pain you should be aware of.
Your knee pain could be caused by buildup of different kinds of crystals called calcium pyrophosphate . Doctors can examine fluid in your inflamed knee to determine if the crystals are uric acid or calcium pyrophosphate.
Causes And Risk Factors Of Gout In Knee
Gout occurs due to the accumulation of urate crystals in the joint, causing inflammation and intense pain. These crystals can form when you have high uric acid in the blood. Your body innately produces uric acid when it breaks down purinessubstances that are found naturally in the body. Purines are also found in certain foods, such as steak, organ meats, and seafood. Other foods that promote higher levels of uric acid include alcoholic beverages, and drinks sweetened with fructose .
In a normal individual without gout, uric acid dissolves in the blood and passes through the kidneys to be expelled in the urine. But sometimes the body produces too much uric acid, or the kidneys excrete too little of it. When this happens, uric acid can build up, forming sharp, needle-like urate crystals that become deposited in a joint or surrounding tissue, causing pain, inflammation, and swelling.
Uric acid crystals tend to form in cooler temperatures. This is why they accumulate most often in the distal extremitiesareas that are more likely to become colder than the rest of the bodysuch as the hands and feet.
Several influences play a role in the development of gout, making some people more susceptible to it than others.
Here are some gout risk factors:
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How Common Is Gout In The Knee
As a general rule of thumb, if left untreated, gout tends to work its way up the body, Dr. Keenan explains.
For example, he cites research that shows 50 percent of patients experience their first gout attack in the big toe. If gout worsens, 35 percent of secondary flares occur in the knee, 40 percent in the midfoot and ankle, 30 percent in elbows and wrists, and 15 percent in fingers.
Its not uncommon for a person to experience their first gout flare in their knee and, after an X-ray or ultrasound, show signs of gout in the foot, he adds.
Gout can afflict both knees, but typically is felt more strongly in one knee where arthritis from general wear is worse.
What Causes Gout In The Knee
Gout develops when the body has high levels of uric acid, a normal waste product. This is known as hyperuricemia.
Uric acid is normally excreted through the body via the kidneys, but in some people, levels can remain high and uric acid can start to accumulate and crystallize in various joints. When these uric acid crystals affect the joint in the knee, it can cause gout symptoms in the knee, making the knee joint red, swollen, and hot to the touch. The buildup of uric acid can also impair the knee joints full range of motion, which can make it difficult to walk.
A number of factors can influence your risk for gout.
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Gout And Oawhats The Connection
A swollen, stiff knee might immediately lead you to suspect you have osteoarthritis , but the culprit could also be gout. Like many close relatives, the two conditions share common features. And because they often occur together, you might wonder which one is causing your symptoms.
Its definitely possible for people to have both conditions at the same time. Theyre the two most common types of arthritis, says Svetlana Krasnokutsky, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at NYU Langone Health. They can affect the same joints.
OA is a degenerative disease that gradually breaks down the cartilage that cushions bones. It causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in joints like the knees, hips, fingers, lower back, and neck. In gout, uric acid crystals build up in the joints. Gout often affects the big toe joint, but the ankles, knees, hands, and wrists can also be involved.
Knowing which condition you haveor whether youve got both gout and osteoarthritis can help your doctor fine-tune your treatment.
How Is It Diagnosed
The only way to diagnose gout with certainty is by your doctor finding urate crystals in fluid taken from your joint. Uric acid levels can be measured by blood tests, however these are not always accurate. Uric acid levels may be normal or even lowered during an attack of gout. Blood tests are most useful in ruling out other causes for your symptoms, such as joint infections or other forms of arthritis. X-rays are often normal in the early stages so are not very useful in diagnosing gout.
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Am I At Risk Of Having Gout
Youre more likely to have a gout attack if you:
- are male
- have a family history of gout
- have elevated levels of uric acid in the blood
- drink too much alcohol
- eat a diet high in purines such as meat, sweetbreads, offal, shellfish, and fructose
- are overweight or obese
- use diuretics
- have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol these conditions can mean that your kidneys are less able to flush out the urates
- have kidney disease
Foods To Limit Or Avoid
Cutting out or limiting foods that contain purines may help further reduce the amount of uric acid in the bloodstream and the risk of developing gout or experiencing gout flare-ups in the future.
Some foods rich in purines are the following:
- alcohol, especially beer and spirits
- certain meats, such as turkey, bacon, veal, liver, venison, and organ meats
- some types of fish and seafood, such as haddock, trout, scallops, cod, mussels, anchovies, sardines, and herring
Foods moderately high in purines include:
- avoiding extreme diets, especially diets low in carbohydrates and high in proteins
- eating a healthy diet that reduces the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity, such as one that includes a lot of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and plant proteins
People with joint damage or tophi from gout may require surgery.
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How To Relieve Pain Of Gout In Knee: What You Should Know
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Treatment For Knee Gout Symptoms
As mentioned earlier, moving swiftly to neutralize the acidic reaction as early as possible is the best course of action both as gout treatment and gout prevention. There are several suggestions that can be implemented:
- Mix baking soda and water and drink it this is the fastest way to neutralize the uric acid. This can help to dissolve the crystals that have already formed and also work to keep the uric acid that hasnt crystallized in solution
- Soak towels in warm water and Epsom salts and wrap the knee then alternate with towel-wrapped icepacks
- Eat fresh celery, apples, cherries, and bananas these are strong antioxidants and alkalizing foods
- Drink clean filtered water 8oz every half hour until all knee gout symptoms have completely disappeared
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How Is Gout In The Knee Diagnosed
If you think you might have gout but havent been diagnosed, try to see a doctor while youre having symptoms. Gout is easier to diagnose when youre in the middle of a flare-up, especially one thats causing swelling, redness, and other visible symptoms.
During your appointment, your doctor will likely ask you several questions about your diet, any medications you take, and whether you have a family history of gout. This can help to rule out other potential causes of your symptoms, including an infection or rheumatoid arthritis.
Your doctor may also order a blood test to check your uric acid levels. Some people have high levels of uric acid and dont develop gout. Others have typical uric acid levels but still develop gout. As a result, your doctor will want to do some other tests as well.
An X-ray, MRI, or CT scan of your knee can help to eliminate other possible causes of joint inflammation. Depending on your exam, your doctor may also order an ultrasound to check for the presence of crystals in your knee.
Finally, they might do a joint fluid test. This involves taking a small sample of joint fluid from your knee with a small needle and looking at it under a microscope for any uric acid crystals.
Based on the results of your exam and tests, they may refer you to an inflammatory arthritis specialist called a rheumatologist for treatment.
Is There A Test For Gout
There is no one test for gout, and its symptoms are similar to several different conditions. To see if you have gout, your health care provider may:
- Ask you to provide your medical history, including:
- Your symptoms.
- Any other medical problems you have.
- Any medications you are taking.
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How Do We Prevent Gout Flare
Generally, we need to get your uric acid levels lower to prevent gout flare-ups. Firstly, you need to treat lifestyle factors. Examples include losing weight, reducing alcohol intake, and a healthy diet. Secondly, your doctor may prescribe medications to lower uric acid. The most common drug is allopurinol. It is important to wait until an acute attack has settled before starting this drug. Speak to your doctor about whether you should consider this drug. In general, preventative medication such as Alluprinol is useful if youre uric acid levels are high .
When you start taking Allopurinol, you should take another tablet such as colchicine for about 4 weeks to prevent another attack.
Typically, a change in lifestyle can reduce uric acid levels. Examples of foods that increase purine and should be avoided include organ meats, sardines, anchovies, prawns, board beans, and foods containing a high concentration of high fructose corn sugar. In addition, yeast and yeast-based foods such as frozen foods and canned food can be problematic. Also, sugar-sweetened beverages and alcoholic drinks increase acid levels. Generally, wine is better than hard liquor or beer.
On the contrary, foods that reduce uric acid include cherries, fruit and vegetables high in vitamin C, low-fat dairy products, and a vegetarian diet. Also, keeping well hydrated can prevent and treat an attack.
What Else Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Gout
Consider asking your healthcare provider:
- What is causing the gout?
- Do I have any joint damage?
- What can I do to prevent future attacks?
- Can any gout medications help me?
- How long will I need to take gout medications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Gout is a painful form of arthritis. Extra uric acid in your body creates sharp crystals in the joints, leading to swelling and extreme tenderness. Gout usually starts in the big toe but can affect other joints. Gout is a treatable condition, and the uric acid level can be decreased by medication and lifestyle changes. Talk to your healthcare provider about medications that can reduce uric acid levels. They can also discuss changes you can make to your diet and lifestyle to prevent and reduce gout attacks.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/15/2020.
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Reducing Uric Acid Levels
Tip: If you really enjoy seafood, there are a few options that are low in purine, such as salmon, mahi mahi, snapper, and tilapia. These fish shouldnt raise your uric acid levels.XResearch source
Symptoms Of Knee Gout
Symptoms of gout in the knee include:
- Change of skin color or shiny skin around the knee.
- Swelling in the knee and around it.
- Pain that is often sudden and severe and limits use of the knee.
An attack of gout can occur suddenly, this condition is triggered by high levels of uric acid in your blood. Uric acid is a natural compound in your body. However, if you have too much of it, sharp crystals of uric acid can collect in your joints. These sharp crystals cause a gout flare-ups. The affected joint is hot, swollen and so tender that even the slightest weight on it, may seem intolerable.
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