Gout, a type of arthritis, can cause significant discomfort. The disease causes sudden attacks of burning pain, stiffness, and swelling in your joints (usually your big toe joints). The attacks may recur as frequently as every few weeks or as seldom as every few months. If left untreated, gout can cause long-term damage to your joints, tendons, and other tissues.
Fortunately, with proper treatment, gout is manageable. If you experience the symptoms of gout or have been diagnosed with the disease, contact an experienced physician to obtain the medical attention you need.
Causes of gout
Uric acid is a chemical that the body creates when it breaks down substances called “purines,” found in some foods. Gout is caused by an accumulation of uric acid in the blood. The uric acid crystallizes in the joints, causing joint pain. Risk factors for developing gout include:
- Being overweight.
- Consuming too many purine-heavy substances (including liver, dried beans, fish, beer, and wine).
- Using certain diuretics and other drugs.
Symptoms of gout
The primary symptoms of gout are sudden attacks of pain, swelling, and redness in your big toe, foot, ankle, or knee. Gout attacks can last a few days or as long as several weeks.
Treatment of gout
There are a number of treatment options for gout. Your doctor will choose the most effective one depending on the severity of your symptoms, your medical history, your current health, and other factors. To provide immediate pain relief, your physician can administer a shot of corticosteroids or prescribe an anti-inflammatory and/or pain medication, such as ibuprofen. To provide long-term relief, your doctor may prescribe a uric acid buildup-reducing medication and/or recommend changes in your diet.
If you have been diagnosed with gout or experienced symptoms of the disease, contact a skilled doctor to receive the treatment necessary to manage your symptoms and address the causes of gout.