Why Do I Get Gout
You might think that gout is caused by drinking too much beer and fizzy drinks and eating too much meat and shellfish. In fact, gout is caused by having too much of a chemical called uric acid in your blood.
Your body makes uric acid when you eat food. It is normal and healthy to have some uric acid in your body. Most people get rid of uric acid through their urine.
Warning Signs Of A Gout Flare
Some people with gout, also known as gouty arthritis, say an attack begins with a burning, itching, or tingling feeling in a joint maybe an hour or two before the flare-up starts. The joint may feel a little stiff or a bit sore. Not long after, the telltale signs of gout begin. If you get repeated attacks, you’ll learn your body’s signals that one is about to begin.
Sometimes, people with gout have no early signs that a flare is about to start. They may just wake up in the middle of the night with a very painful joint.
When the flare starts, most people have redness, swelling, and severe pain, usually in one joint. The most common place for gout is the base of the big toe, but it can happen in other joints such as the elbow, knee, wrist, ankle, and instep.
Home Remedies For Long
The American College of Rheumatology recommends a couple of lifestyle modifications for preventing future attacks of gout:
1) Lose weight if you need to. Being overweight can increase uric acid levels as well as put pressure on the joints.
2) Follow a low-purine diet. Another effective way to reduce uric acid levels is to follow a low-purine diet. Purines are organic compounds that break down into uric acid. Following a low-purine diet means avoiding the big four alcohol, shellfish, red meat, and high fructose corn syrup.
Limiting these foods is also beneficial for heart health and people with gout are at higher risk for heart disease.
But dont go overboard with dietary changes to relieve gout pain though, advises Dr. Fields. You can find lists of thousands of different foods youre not supposed to have if you have gout. Those recommendations are impossible to follow and can make you crazy.
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Take Your Prescription Drugs
If you’ve had a gout attack before, your physician may have prescribed drugs to treat attacks. This may be your first line of defense or you may decide to use them only when NSAIDs fail to relieve your pain.
Prescription medications to treat gout include:
- Prednisolone oral tablets, which has been shown to work as well as NSAIDs and often doesnt cause the same stomach upset. Prednisolone is a type of corticosteroid and does carry other potential side effects, particularly if it is taken for longer than the recommended 5 days.4
- Colchicine, which has been shown effective in reducing pain and inflammation if taken in the first 24 hours of an attack. Always follow your physicians instructions regarding dosing to decrease your risk for potential complications and side effects.
Opioid painkillers, such as codeine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone, are not recommended to treat the pain caused by gout.
Foot Trauma Or Injuries
Patients who have sustained a focal injury to a portion of the cartilage of the great toe joint, specifically athletes, may also go on to develop arthritis of this joint. This injury may have happened in their teens and twenties, unbeknownst to the patient, but the arthritis may present much later in life.
Great toe fracture or other higher-energy trauma may also damage the cartilage and cause great toe arthritis in the long run.
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What Causes Your Gout Attacks
If there is too much uric acid in your blood, the acid turns into crystals in your joints especially your toes, knees, elbows, wrists and fingers.
The crystals are very sharp, like needles, and your joint gets very sore and painful. This is called a gout attack.
Crystals can cause damage to your joints.
The crystals cause lumps which are called tophi . If tophi get too big they can make it hard for you to wear shoes, use a knife and fork, write and walk easily.
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Who Is At Risk For Gout
Anyone can be affected by gout.
Gout is most common in middle-aged men, especially those with a family history of the disease. Women can get gout, too, most often after menopause.
Your chances of developing gout are higher if you:
- Are overweight
- Drink too much alcohol, especially beer
- Eat a diet rich in meat and fish, which can be high in chemicals called purines
- Take certain medicines, like water pills , that can trigger an attack
Recent research also indicates that genetics may play a big role in determining who gets gout. Ask your doctor if you have questions about your risk for developing this condition.
What Youll Want To Remember To Do
10) Get a cane
It can be tough to accept, but walking with a cane during an acute gout attack will keep pressure off your painful joints and make life a lot more pleasant. For styling with a cane, there are some pretty darn cool ones out there on the Internet. A few of our favorite canes can be found at https://www.fashionablecanes.com/ and https://thewalkingcanestore.com/
11) Wear Warm Clothes When its Cold
If you live in a cold climatic area, you are susceptible to gout. Keep yourself warm by donning thick clothes and socks. Avoid exposing your feet to the cold, as gout often affects the big toe. Also, ensure that you sleep in a room that is slightly warmer than room temperature.
12) Exercise, but in Moderation
There is no substitute for exercise, as being overweight can contribute to gout. Keeping your weight in check and getting enough exercise will help prevent the accumulation of uric acid in the joints. Bear in mind that too much exercise can lead to trouble by putting more stress on already inflamed joints. Hence, always exercise in moderation.
13) Elevate your foot, if affected
Raising your foot with pillows so its higher than your chest may help lessen swelling.
14) Tame your sheets
Even the weight of your bed sheets can be unbearable to an inflamed, gouty toe. Tuck the sheet in on the sides so its end falls at calf level, leaving your painful toe free of the covers.
15) Create gout-friendly socks
16) Chill out
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What Does Gout Look Like
Too much uric acid in the blood causes gout. Uric acid is a byproduct of the breakdown of purines. Generally, purines are produced by the body, but we also get purines from diet. As purines are broken down, uric acid crystals are produced. These small uric acid crystals build up in joints. The big toe is affected but other joints such as the ankle, knee, and patella are also be affected.
Starting On Uric Acid Medicine
Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist should start you on a low dose and slowly build up to a stronger dose. Remember when you start on uric acid medicine you also need to take a low dose of a gout attack medicine such as colchicine. You will be taking at least two medicines for up to 6 months. Some people might have to take three medicines.
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What About Prp Injections For Gout
PRP injections for gout are only reserved for special cases. Just like cortisone injections, PRP injections are anti-inflammatory and will have a beneficial effect. This effect is probably better if the injected joint has underlying degenerative changes such as osteoarthritis. Nevertheless, the effect of PRP is less than cortisone. Overall, we would only consider PRP injection for gout if the risks of a cortisone injection are too great.
Gout Arthropathy Or Podagra
Another common cause of big toe arthritis is gout arthropathy. Gout is characterized by the excessive production and deposition of uric acid crystals into the joints. One of the most common sites of gouty arthritis is the great toe. This condition is also known as podagra.
An episode of gouty arthritis will present very acutely, or suddenly, with severe pain, redness, swelling, and warmth around the joint.
With each attack, the joint cartilage is damaged, predisposing patients to irreversible arthritis in the long run. This is why patients with gout require treatment to avoid the number of recurrent episodes over their lifetime.
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Can You Get Rid Of Gout
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What Are Symptoms Of Gout
Chances are you wont even know you have gout until youve experienced your first painful attack, often at night. Symptoms may not develop for years, but these often include:
- Arthritis that develops quickly, resulting in a swollen, red, and warm joint with limited movement
- An arthritis attack in only one joint often the big toe, as well as a foot, ankle, or knee
- Bright red or purplish skin around the affected joint
- More than one attack of acute arthritis
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Risk Factors For Gout
You are Mori or Pacific
Many Mori and Pacific people have genes that make it harder to get rid of uric acid from their bodies.
Your doctor has told you you have high uric acid levels
Uric acid is a chemical that everyone has in their body. Some people have higher uric acid levels than others. High levels of uric acid can turn into gout.
You can reduce your uric acid levels by keeping active, staying fit, keeping your weight down, eating a healthy diet and not drinking beer and sugary drinks.
You have a family history of gout
If people in your family have gout then you have a higher chance of getting gout.
Managing A Gout Flare
Gout flares are unexpected and painful heres how to get a handle on them.
Few things in life are more painful than a gout flare, so if youre awakened in the wee hours by a joint that is tender, swollen, red and radiating heat, youll want to act fast. Heres what you can do when a gout flare starts to ease the pain and reduce the risk of others.
Take Medicine You Have on Hand. Start treatment immediately with over-the-counter ibuprofen or naproxen , but never take aspirin, which can worsen a flare. If you have had a flare before and your doctor has prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication to take in the event of another, take your prescribed medication as your doctor directed. If you are already taking a uric acid-lowering drug to reduce the risk of flares, continue to take that drug.
Ice Down. Applying an ice pack to the painful joint may help ease pain and inflammation. Wrap a pack in a dish cloth and apply to the area for 20- to 30-minutes at a stretch several times a day.
Let your doctor know what is going on right away. She may prescribe a new medication, or have you come to the office for a joint fluid test or an injection of a corticosteroid to start relieving inflammation quickly. Getting treatment within the first 24 hours of the start of a flare can lessen its length and severity.
Get a Cane. Walking with a cane during an acute gou flare can help keep pressure off your painful joint.
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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.
The Role Of Physical Activity In Prevention Of Gout
Along with diet, physical activity can help with weight loss, and gout has been associated with being overweight.7 in patients with well-established gout, especially if X-rays have demonstrated joint damage in the foot, a low-impact exercise program is reasonable. An exercise program combined with diet in gout can reduce risk for attacks.7 If an attack seems to be coming on in the lower extremity, patients are well-advised to try to get off their feet, since impact seems to worsen gout attacks. Clues to an attack of gout coming on include local swelling, heat, redness, and tenderness in a joint, especially in the foot, ankle, or knee. Some patients have fever and chills as the first warning that an attack of gout is coming on.
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How Will Gout Affect Me
Attacks can vary from person to person. Some people only have an attack every few years, while others have attacks every few months.
Without medication attacks tend to happen more often and other joints can become affected.
Having high urate levels and gout for a long time can lead to other health problems, including:
- narrowing of the arteries â which can lead to an increased risk of stroke or heart attacks or other heart problems
- osteoarthritis, which occurs when the urate crystals and hard tophi cause joint damage.
- an increased risk of developing kidney disease or worsening of the condition if you already have it
- kidney stones
- an increased risk of some cancers, especially prostate cancer
- mental health problems, including depression
- underactive thyroid
- erectile dysfunction in men.
If you take medication to lower your urate levels, and have a healthy diet and lifestyle, most of the damage and complications caused by gout can be stopped.
Treatments for gout are incredibly successful. There are two main parts to treating gout, which are:
- treating the acute attack
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If You Are Having Repeated Attacks See Your Doctor
Some patients can go a long time between attacks. In fact, for 62 percent of patients the next attack will be more than a year away, and some won’t have another attack in the next 10 years. However, if you begin to have more frequent attacks, talk to your doctor about escalating treatment. People think its normal to have flares every now and then, but its not. The gout can be doing damage to your joints. It means you still have too much uric acid, says Shakouri. In particular, ask about allpurinol. It wont help with an acute attack but will help prevent future attacks by reducing uric acid production.
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How To Get Gout Relief At Home
This article was co-authored by Siddharth Tambar, MD. Dr. Siddharth Tambar, MD is a board certified rheumatologist at Chicago Arthritis and Regenerative Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. With over 19 years of experience, Dr. Tambar specializes in Regenerative Medicine and Rheumatology, with a focus on Platelet rich plasma and Bone marrow derived stem cell treatments for arthritis, tendinitis, injuries, and back pain. Dr. Tambar holds a BA in Economics from State University of New York at Buffalo. He earned his MD from State University of New York at Syracuse. He completed his Internship, Residency in Internal Medicine, and his Rheumatology Fellowship at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Dr Tambar is board certified in both rheumatology and internal medicine. He also holds Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Diagnostic and Interventional certifications from the American College of Rheumatology and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine.There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 466,423 times.