If you are living with gout, you are not alone. Gout is one of the most common forms of arthritis in the United States, affecting more than 8 million people. Here at Premier Foot and Ankle Clinic, we want to help our patients manage their gout effectively. In this blog post, we will provide information on living with gout and managing its symptoms. We hope that this blog will empower our patients and help them live happier and healthier life!
What is gout?
Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in the body. Uric acid is a waste product that is produced when the body breaks down purines, which are found in certain foods and drinks. When uric acid levels become too high, it can form crystals in the joints. The kidneys normally remove this acid from the blood and it leaves the body through the urine. Sometimes the kidneys can’t keep up and uric acid builds up and forms a needle-like crystal. When this happens, gout can occur causing pain.
How did I get gout?
Gout is not a result of anything you did; rather, there are a number of possible reasons behind its development.
Gout may be genetic since it often occurs in families, but diet can also contribute, particularly if a person excessively consumes alcohol or foods high in purines (e.g., red meats) that break down into uric acid.
You may be more susceptible to developing gout and related complications if you belong to certain demographics, such as middle-aged men, postmenopausal women, or individuals with kidney disease.
Gout has been linked to a variety of health issues including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, diabetes, heart failure, and obesity. It’s comforting to know that you’re not alone. There are millions of gout sufferers throughout the world who manage their illness successfully.
Our team at Premier Foot and Ankle Center will help you effectively navigate your condition with a treatment plan that includes self-management strategies and medication as needed. It is important that we work together to come up with a treatment plan that is right for you and sensible for your lifestyle.
There are a number of things you can do to help manage your gout and keep it under control. Some self-management strategies include:
– Maintaining a healthy weight
Obesity is a risk factor for gout. Losing weight can help reduce the chances of gout flares.
– Limiting alcohol consumption
Alcohol can trigger gout flares. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
– Avoiding high-purine foods
Foods such as red meat, organ meats, and seafood are high in purines and can trigger gout flares. Avoiding these foods or eating them in moderation can help prevent gout attacks.
– Drinking plenty of fluids
Drinking water helps flush uric acid from the body. Aim for eight to ten glasses of water per day.
– Taking gout medication as prescribed
Medication can help prevent gout attacks and reduce the severity of symptoms. It is important to take medication as prescribed by your doctor.
Gout & Medication
What is the difference between treating an attack and managing chronic gout?
The purpose of treating an attack is to soothe symptoms like pain and inflammation. However, if you only treat the flare-up, you are ignoring the reason it started. Gout attacks happen when uric acid levels are high. With medication that keeps uric acid at a “normal” level, gout arthritis can be managed well and avoid serious risks like painful flares and long-term joint erosion.
What types of medication treat a gout attack?
NSAID or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents are used to reduce inflammation and pain. They are the most common medications for immediate relief during an attack. Examples include naproxen and ibuprofen.
Colchicine has been used for many years to treat and help prevent gout attacks. However, it does not lower uric acid or eliminate deposits or uric acid in the joints. Colchicine can be used along with uric acid-reducing medications to prevent future attacks.
Corticosteroids help reduce inflammation and pain associated with gout attacks. They can be administered intravenously, as pills, or by injection.
What medications help regulate uric acid levels?
The only way to manage gout long-term is by maintaining a healthy uric acid level, and the most effective method of doing so is through medication. Some medications work by reducing uric acid production, while others promote uric acid excretion.
The standard first-line treatment—reduces the body’s production of uric acid.
can be more effective for people who don’t respond well to allopurinol treatments.
helps your body clear uric acid so it doesn’t build up.
The medications suggested have the purpose of preventing agony by achieving uric acid levels recommended by 6mg/dL. These drugs are typically taken for long periods to prevent not only pain but also the buildup of uric acid and joint complications.
What if traditional medications haven’t worked?
Some patients struggle to find success with traditional oral treatments. If you are one of those patients, you still have options.
is a medication that is given to patients via infusion every two weeks. The therapy works by converting uric acid into a compound that can be more easily excreted. The medication is often given for several months. During this time the large deposits of uric acid that have accumulated on bones and joints dissolve.
How can someone living with gout know which medications to take?
People with gout should work with their health care provider, preferably a gout specialist, to personalize their care plan – aimed at treating their gout, rather than just fighting through a flare.
If you are living with gout in the foot and ankle, know that you are not alone. The team at Premier Foot and Ankle Clinic is here to help you manage your condition effectively. Contact us today to schedule an appointment! We look forward to helping you live a happier and healthier life!
Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with one of our physicians.