Know the basics
What is Gout?
Gout is a form of arthritis, or inflammation, which causes sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, tenderness, and swelling in the joints. The large toe is most often affected, but gout can also affect other joints in the leg (knee, ankle, foot) and less often in the arms (hand, wrist, and elbow). The spine is rarely affected.
How common is Gout?
Gout affects about 1 in 200 adults. It can affect everyone, regardless of age and gender, but men are more likely to have it than women and people in the middle age than adolescence. It can be managed by reducing some lifestyle factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
Know the symptoms
What are the symptoms of Gout?
The common symptoms of gout are:
- Sudden, intense joint pain, which often first occurs in the early morning;
- Swollen, tender joint;
- Joint redness;
- Warmth around the joint.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have experience some symptoms mentioned-above, go to the doctor right away to receive immediate treatment. Gout can cause joint damage if left untreated. Also, if you have a fever and your joint is hot and inflamed, seek medical care immediately as it can be a sign of infection.
Know the causes
What causes Gout?
Gout is caused by a chemical in the blood called uric acid (urate). Uric acid is usually harmless and is made inside the body. Most is passed out with the urine while some with the stools. In people with gout, the amount of uric acid in the blood builds up over time. Until the level become too high, a tiny grit-like crystals of uric acid may form. The crystals typically collect in a joint and may cause inflammation, swelling and pain.
Know the risk factors
What increases my risk for Gout?
There are many risk factors for gout, such as:
- Excessive weight gain;
- Heavy alcohol intake;
- High blood pressure;
- Abnormal kidney function;
- Certain medications like water pills;
- Medical history;
- After surgery or trauma.
Understand the diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is Gout diagnosed?
A blood test cannot truly tell if you have gout or not. Rather, your doctor may take some fluid out of your swollen joint. This is done with a needle and syringe. The fluid is then examined under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis of gout.
How is Gout treated?
There is no permanent cure for gout, but it can be controlled. After treatment, you can feel that the pain and inflammation has decreased and if you adopt a healthy living habit, future gout attacks can be prevent significantly.
Gout is mainly treated with medications, including:
- Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat sudden and severe gout attacks;
- Steroids can be used as an alternative for NSAIDs;
- Colchicine helps reduce the risk of recurrence;
- Drugs that control the level of uric acid in the blood such as allopurinol, probenecid and febuxostat.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage Gout?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with health condition:
- Limiting food high in purines.
- Have a diet low in saturated fat and low-fat dairy products.
- Replace refined sugar for natural one found in vegetables and whole grains.
- Avoid eating seafood and red meat.
- Maintaining adequate clear fluid intakes.
- Reduce or avoid alcohol, especially beer.
When you suddenly experience gout, there are some ways to help you cope if you don’t have gout medicines at hand:
- Raise the affective limb up to reduce swelling.
- Hold an ice pack against the inflamed joint for about 20 minutes.
- Repeat as often as needed but make sure the temperature of the affected part has returned to normal before applying again.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Gout. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/orthopaedics-rheumatology/diseases-conditions/hic-gout. Accessed June 12, 2016.
Gout. http://patient.info/health/gout-leaflet. Accessed June 12, 2016.
Gout (Gouty Arthritis). http://www.medicinenet.com/gout_gouty_arthritis/page9.htm. Accessed June 12, 2016.
Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017