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Gout

What is Gout?

Gout is one of the most common forms of arthritis (joint inflammation). It appears as an acute attack. Within 12-24 hours of the attack, there is severe pain and swelling in the affected joint. Gout usually affects only one joint at a time - most often the feet and ankles. The joints in the big toe are common sites.

Gout was described in the days of Hippocrates.

Symptoms of Gout

The most common symptoms of gout are inflammation, swelling, and tenderness in a joint. The tenderness is often felt in the joint of the first toe.

What Causes Gout?

Gout is caused by an excess of uric acid in the body. The excess can be caused by an increase in production of uric acid in the body and by the inability of the kidneys to adequately clear uric acid from the body.

What causes an increase in production of Uric Acid?

Shellfish, certain medications, and an excess of alcoholic beverages may increase uric acid levels and cause gout attacks.

Complications of Gout

Some of the major complications are:

  1. Tophi. When high levels of high uric acid has been present for a long time, deposits of uric acid salts may appear around the affected joint and even in tissues elsewhere such as the ears. These nodules are called tophi.
  2. High Blood Pressure. When blood pressure is high and levels of uric acid are high, kidney damage can occur.

How to prevent Gout

Decrease intake of alcohol and rich foods that are primary contributors to excessive uric acid levels.

Treatment options for Gout

Gout can be treated. If it is not treated, the attack subsides in a week or so. Sometimes months or even years will pass before having another attack.

Some of the treatment options are:

  • Colchicine. Colchicine has been a standard treatment for acute gout. However, some patients may have the following side effects: nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID's) can also be used to treat gout. The NSAID that is most widely used to treat acute gout is indomethacin.
  • If continuous medication is necessary, the two most common choices are probenecid and allopurinol.

 

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