How Gout Is Diagnosed
If you think you may have gout, a rheumatologist can assess your symptoms, perform some tests, and potentially make a diagnosis.
Heres what a joint specialist will consider before confirming gout:
- Symptoms including pain, inflammation, discomfort, and tophi
- Duration of symptoms
- Uric acid level in your blood
- Presence of uric acid crystals in synovial fluid extracted from the joint
- Imaging of the joint, such as an X-ray, MRI, or ultrasound
Depending on your provider and specific symptoms youve experienced, diagnosis may be quick, requiring minimal testing. In other cases, you may need to follow up with additional tests.
Causes And Risk Factors
Gout occurs due to an excess buildup of uric acid, or hyperuricemia.
According to the National Institutes of Health , hyperuricemia is the main risk factor for developing gout. However, a quarter of those with hyperuricemia do not develop gout.
When the body breaks down purines, it produces uric acid. Typically, the kidneys remove a certain amount of uric acid in the urine. However, when they are unable to remove enough uric acid, uric acid crystals can form in the joints and soft tissues, causing swelling and pain.
Gout typically affects males more than females. However, females have higher levels of uric acid after menopause. NIAMS state that being older also the chance of developing gout.
Genetics can also increase the chance of developing gout.
According to the CDC , other factors that may increase the likelihood of gout include:
- Diet: Food can play a role in the development of gout symptoms. Eating seafood, red meat, and drinking alcohol raises uric acid levels in the body.
- Weight: Having overweight increases the chance of developing gout.
- Medications: Certain medications, including diuretics and low-dose aspirin, are associated with gout risk because they increase the level of uric acid in the body.
- Other medical conditions:High blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease can increase gout risk.
According to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, some people with gout may develop complications, such as:
Early Signs Of Gout To Never Ignore
Gout is the most common variety of inflammatory arthritis, caused by the buildup of sodium urate crystals in the joints. Gout is a unique arthritis disorder in that a singular joint is often affected, which is in the hallux . The condition may also affect areas of the knee, ankle, and smaller toes.
Gout is caused by a condition known as hyperuricemia or an accumulation of uric acid. At a certain level, this acid crystallizes within the joints within the body.
Symptoms of gout include:
- Redness and swelling
Similar to other forms of arthritis, gout flare-ups often occur in people who had been symptom-free for weeks, months, or even years. Many risk factors increase the likelihood of developing hyperuricemia and gout, including:
- Age and sex: Males between the ages of 30 and 50 are more at risk.
- Being overweight or obese: Weight problems may trigger an overproduction of uric acid, leading to accumulation and the development of hyperuricemia.
- Certain medical conditions: Diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and diseases of the heart and kidney increases risk.
- Diet: Drinking alcohol and sugary beverages, and high consumption of meats and seafood, increases risk.
- Medications: Use of low-dose aspirin and diuretics increases uric acid levels.
- Genetic predisposition: Gout, like many other medical conditions, is hereditary.
Don’t Miss: Pictures Of Gout In Your Foot
Gout Frequently Flares In Your Knee But You May Not Always Know That Your Knee Pain Is Due To Gout Heres How To Tell Since Prompt Treatment Can Reduce Your Risk Of Complications
Knee pain can be a common symptom of several types of arthritis, as well as many other conditions or injuries. If your knee stiffness is accompanied by a burning pain and is warm to touch, you may have a gout flare in the knee.
Though gout is most often associated with the big toe, gout tends to flare in areas that already have arthritis, says Robert Keenan, MD, a rheumatologist with Articularis Healthcare in Summerville, South Carolina. Although gout can strike in many different joints, as a general rule, gout works its way up the body. If its not treated, it works its way up from the big toe, through the ankle, to the knee, and then to the lower spine and so on.
Gout can affect both knees, but typically is felt more strongly in one knee say, where you may have arthritis wear-and-tear to begin with.
Learn more about what causes gout in the knee, as well as ways to treat the pain and prevent it in the future.
Can Gout Be Prevented
Some people with gout experience recurrent attacks, which may be prevented by using prescription medications. These medicines work by lowering uric acid levels in the blood. The most commonly used is allopurinol. This helps to lower uric acid levels by reducing the body’s production of uric acid.
You can also reduce your chance of having further attacks of gout by adopting some sensible lifestyle changes, such as:
- reducing alcohol intake avoid binge drinking, in particular
- gradually losing weight if you are overweight, while avoiding fad diets
- eating a healthy, balanced diet
- drinking plenty of water, especially when at risk of dehydration
There is no scientific evidence that particular foods cause gout, but some studies have shown that people who are prone to gout are more likely to eat foods rich in purines a substance that’s converted into uric acid within the body.
Foods with high levels of purines include:
- red meat and offal such as liver, kidneys and heart
- seafood, especially shellfish, scallops, mussels, herring, mackerel, sardines and anchovies
- foods containing yeast such as Vegemite and beer
It’s best to seek the advice of your doctor or an accredited practising dietitian before making any changes to your diet. Most people with gout find that a healthy, balanced diet along with medication is enough to reduce their uric acid levels.
Also Check: Is Orange Good For Gout
How To Treat Gout In The Big Toe: What You Must Know
Gout is becoming more and more common and its one of the worst issues to have
So I fully understand why youre interested in How To Treat Gout In The Big Toe.
Im working on a brand new video to go over How To Treat Gout In The Big Toe in detail!
So I apologize for the delay.
Please however, this post may be really beneficial to you because well be going over
- What is Gout & can you get rid of it?
- How thousands of people have stopped gout pains
So lets get into it. Sound good?
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
Don’t Miss: Is Onion Bad For Gout
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:
What Foods Cause Gout
Diet is a leading cause of gout. Certain foods contain purines, crystalline compounds that create uric acid when metabolized. When you eat foods high in purines, it can increase uric acid levels in the body and elevate your risk of developing gout.
Foods that can increase urate levels include:
- Red meat
- Shellfish and other types of seafood
- Beer and other types of alcohol
Eating fresh fruit isnt typically a cause for concern. However, fruit juice and fructose-sweetened drinks could be an issue when consumed in high volumes.
The good news is that certain foods can actually help lower uric acid levels and potentially keep future gout attacks at bay. This includes whole grains, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.
Read Also: Is Almond Bad For Gout
How Can A Gout Attack Be Prevented
Diet plays a key role diet in gout prevention: Since foods can directly set off gout attacks, patients with gout should receive counseling as to which foods are more likely to induce attacks. Losing weight is often also helpful. However, as important as diet is in gout, for most people with gout diet, and even weight loss, are not enough, and medications will be needed to get to their uric acid goal.
What Is Gout Its Causes
Gout is actually a type is arthritis that happens due to hyperuricemia, a condition where blood uric acid level increases more the normal level. So, what happens when uric acid increases in our body?
Uric acid present in the blood gets ionized into Monosodium Urate Crystal. Normally these urate crystal gets dissolved and its solubility is affected by:
- Synovial fluid pH,
- Electrolytes level, and
- Other synovial components such as proteoglycans and collagen.
But, when the level of uric acid increases the urate crystal starts deposition gets starts in the tissue around the joints leading to gout. There are two factors that causes the increase in the uric acid level one is overproduction of uric acid and second condition is when there is decreased excretion of uric acid from the body.
Don’t Miss: Is Almond Bad For Gout
Have An Emergency Companion
Anyone with a medical condition should have an emergency companion. This is someone that you can call and rely on in the event of an emergency. It can be a family member, a friend, or a close and trusted neighbor who can come to your aid during a gout attack.
This person will be important to you because a gout attack can leave a person incapacitated for a couple of hours. You might need help reaching for the medicine cabinet or doing a soak remedy. Maybe this person lives with you or near you, either way, whats important is that they are within close proximity so they can help you right away.
How Is Gout Diagnosed
Your health care provider will get your complete medical history and do a physical exam. She may run these exams and tests to diagnose gout:
- Ajoint fluid analysis to see if uric acid crystals are present. This is the only certain way to diagnose gout.
- Tests to measure uric acid levels in blood and urine
There are many conditions with symptoms similar to gout. Be sure to see your doctor for a diagnosis.
Don’t Miss: Is Almond Bad For Gout
Symptoms And Signs Of Gout In Foot
An attack of gout is often sudden. Symptoms:
- It may present with excruciatingly painful swelling of joints in the big toe, it is known as Podagra. The joint may be stiff and appear red or purple, very swollen, and tender to even light touch. Other gout sites include the instep, wrist, ankle, fingers, and knee.
- Skin may peel and itch as healing begins.
- An attack often begins at night the acute phase lasts up to 12 hours. If untreated, the inflammation may last up to two weeks. In 10 percent of people, acute episodes present in more than one joint.
- Kidney stones precede the onset of gout in 14 percent of patients.
- Chronic gout may develop, and it may affect more than one joint, mimicking rheumatoid arthritis.
- Tophi are soft tissue swellings caused by urate buildup in chronic gout. They may be found in the ear, fingers, toes, kneecap, and elbow.
Some people have a single attack of gout, others are affected intermittently, often when they have overindulged or experienced dehydration.
COMPLICATIONS OF GOUT IN FOOT
Its rare for complications of gout to develop, but they do happen and can include severe degenerative arthritis, secondary infections, kidney stones and kidney damage, nerve or spinal cord impingement, and joint fractures.
Treating A Gout Attack
Treating an attack of gout doesnt lower your urate levels or stop future attacks. The treatment helps you to manage your symptoms when an attack happens.
The most commonly used drug treatments for attacks of gout are:
Some people will be better suited to NSAIDS, while others will be suited to colchicine. But your preference is also taken into consideration many people with gout quickly learn what works best for them.
In cases where one drug doesnt seem to be working on its own, your doctor might suggest a combination of NSAIDs with either colchicine or steroids.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Attacks of gout are often treated with NSAID tablets, which can help with pain and reduce some of your inflammation. Ibuprofen, Naproxen and diclofenac are three NSAIDs you could be given.
If youve been prescribed NSAIDs to treat an attack, you should start taking them as soon as you notice signs of one coming on. Your doctor may let you keep a supply so you can start taking them at the first signs of an attack.
The earlier you start treatment, the better.
NSAIDs arent suitable for everyone, so talk to your doctor about them first if you have any other conditions. They can also interact with other drugs, so make sure you talk to a doctor before starting on any new medication.
Colchicine isnt a painkiller, but can be very effective at reducing the inflammation caused by urate crystals.
Colchicine tablets can cause diarrhoea or stomach aches.
Recommended Reading: Almond Milk And Gout
Gout Attack Vs Chronic Gout
It is possible to have a gout flare-up and never experience another. Repeated instances of acute gout are called chronic gout17.
The treatment goals for a gout attack are different than those for chronic gout. When treating a gout attack, the goal is to relieve pain and inflammation. When treating chronic gout, the goal is to prevent future gout attacks and long-term joint damage.
While some people with chronic gout may get frequent gout attacks, others may have years in between attacks. If chronic gout is not treated, attacks may become more frequent and/or last longer.
Left untreated, a gout attack will usually resolve itself within a few days or weeks. Chronic gout can permanently damage a joints tissues and decrease its range of motion. For this reason, it is important to recognize symptoms, understand risk factors, get an accurate diagnosis, and treat and prevent gout.
Signs You Might Have Gout
Gout attacks can be so painful that even the light pressure of a bed sheet can be agonizing. The metabolic disorder accounts for at least five per cent of all cases of arthritis, causing pain and misery for millions of people around the world. Here, the bizarre causes and strange symptoms of gout are revealed, along with ways to prevent and treat it.
Don’t Miss: Is Onion Bad For Gout
The Role Of Medication In Prevention Of Gout
Table 3: Medications to pevent attacks of gout
Standard medications in preventing gout attacks
i. Colchicine : using the matches analogy discussed above1, using colchicine can be seen as dampening the uric acid matches. Colchicine does not lower the bodys store of uric acid, but it decreases the intensity of the bodys inflammatory reaction to these crystals. Recent studies have shown that at least one mechanism of colchicines action is by acting to prevent a cascade of reactions that lead to the production of interleukin 1-beta, which is an inflammatory protein , which is important in gouty inflammation.8
ii. Allopurinol: This agent is presently the most commonly used drug for the prevention of gout. Allopurinol blocks the enzyme xanthine oxidase, which blocks the breakdown of purines, thus decreasing the bodys total amount of uric acid. Allopurinol is effective in preventing gout no matter what the mechanism of the elevated uric acid was. Whether a person is making too much uric acid, or has difficulty excreting it via the kidney, allopurinols decrease in uric acid production leads to the same goal: a decreased total body uric acid.
Table 4: Reasons to use medication to lower uric acid
What To Do During An Attack
- take any medication youve been prescribed as early as possible after you notice an attack this should start to have an effect within two or three days
- rest and raise the limb
- avoid knocking or damaging the affected joint
- keep the joint cool remove surrounding clothing and apply an ice pack, such as a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel
- ensure youre well hydrated
Apply the ice pack to your joint for around 20 minutes. Dont apply ice directly to your skin and dont apply it for more than 20 minutes at a time because this could damage the skin.
If necessary, you can keep reapplying an ice pack to your skin during an attack, but you should wait until your skin has returned to a normal temperature first.
Read Also: Symptoms Of Gout In Feet And Toes
Read Also: Cherry Juice For Gout Mayo Clinic