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Treatment Gout

Gout is one of the most painful forms of arthritis. It occurs when too much uric acid builds up in the body. The buildup of uric acid can lead to:

  • Sharp uric acid crystal deposits in joints, often in the big toe
  • Deposits of uric acid (called tophi) that look like lumps under the skin
  • Kidney stones from uric acid crystals in the kidneys.

For many people, the first attack of gout occurs in the big toe. Often, the attack wakes a person from sleep. The toe is very sore, red, warm, and swollen. In addition to the big toe, gout can affect Instep, Ankles, Heels, Knees, Wrists, Fingers, and Elbows.

Gout can cause Pain, Swelling, Redness, Heat, and Stiffness in joints.

A gout attack can be brought on by stressful events, alcohol or drugs, or another illness. Early attacks usually get better within 3 to 10 days, even without treatment. The next attack may not occur for months or even years.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Signs and symptoms of gout include:

  • Hyperuricemia (high level of uric acid in the blood)
  • Uric acid crystals in joint fluid
  • More than one attack of acute arthritis
  • Arthritis that develops in 1 day, producing a swollen, red, and warm joint
  • Attack of arthritis in only one joint, usually the toe, ankle, or knee.

To confirm a diagnosis of gout, doctors may draw a sample of fluid from an inflamed joint to look for crystals associated with gout.

Causes

Gout is caused by the buildup of too much uric acid in the body. Uric acid comes from the breakdown of substances called purines. Purines are found in all of your body's tissues. They are also in many foods, such as liver, dried beans and peas, and anchovies.

Normally, uric acid dissolves in the blood. It passes through the kidneys and out of the body in urine. But uric acid can build up in the blood when:

  • The body increases the amount of uric acid it makes.
  • The kidneys do not get rid of enough uric acid.
  • A person eats too many foods high in purines.

When uric acid levels in the blood are high, it is called hyperuricemia. Most people with hyperuricemia do not develop gout. But if excess uric acid crystals form in the body, gout can develop.

You are more likely to have gout if you:

  • Have family members with the disease
  • Are a man
  • Are overweight
  • Drink too much alcohol
  • Eat too many foods rich in purines
  • Have an enzyme defect that makes it hard for the body to break down purines
  • Are exposed to lead in the environment
  • Have had an organ transplant
  • Use some medicines such as diuretics, aspirin, cyclosporine, or levodopa
  • Take the vitamin niacin.

 

Reference:

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, USA.