Gout Treatment in Philadelphia, PA
Gout is a condition caused by an excess of uric acid in your body, which may result from the body either producing too much or excreting too little. The term “gout” is used generically to describe the spectrum of this illness from acute to chronic.
People who have gout typically suffer from symptoms affecting the feet, including swelling, pain, and redness, particularly in the joint behind the big toe. Acute gout causes sporadic attacks and can affect almost any major extremity joint, with the small joints of the hands and feet affected most often.
With chronic gout, hard swellings known as tophi can form on the joints. These tophi are made of uric acid and can grow very large, even to the point of breaking through the skin.
The Arthritis Group specializes in the treatment of gout and other rheumatic conditions. Call our office at (215) 725-7400 or schedule an appointment online to meet with our specialists to discuss your symptoms and discover what treatment options will work best for you.
What are the symptoms of gout?
The signs and symptoms of gout typically occur suddenly, and often at night. They can include:
- Intense joint pain. Gout usually affects the big toe, but it can occur in any joint. Other commonly affected joints include the ankles, knees, elbows, wrists and fingers. The pain is likely to be most severe within the first four to 12 hours after it begins.
- Lingering discomfort. After the most severe pain subsides, some joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks. Later attacks are likely to last longer and affect more joints.
- Inflammation and redness. The affected joint, or joints, become swollen, tender, warm and red.
- Limited range of motion. As gout progresses, you may not be able to move your joints normally.
What factors can lead to a higher chance of developing gout?
People are more likely to develop gout if they have high levels of uric acid in their body. Factors that increase the uric acid level in the body include:
- Diet. Eating a diet rich in red meat and shellfish, as well as drinking beverages sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose), can increase levels of uric acid, which can increase the risk of gout. Alcohol consumption, especially beer, also increases the risk of gout.
- Weight. If you’re overweight, your body produces more uric acid and your kidneys have a more difficult time eliminating uric acid.
- Family history of gout. If other members of your family have had gout, you’re more likely to develop the disease.
- Age and sex. Gout occurs more often in men, primarily because women tend to have lower uric acid levels. After menopause, however, women’s uric acid levels approach those of men. Men are also more likely to develop gout earlier — usually between the ages of 30 and 50, whereas women generally develop signs and symptoms after menopause.
- Recent surgery or trauma. Experiencing recent surgery or trauma can sometimes trigger a gout attack. In some people, receiving a vaccination can trigger a gout flare.
What are the treatments for gout?
Treatments for gout are designed to reduce either the pain and inflammation of individual attacks or the frequency of attacks. Traditional treatments include making dietary changes and taking certain medications.
Maintaining a balanced diet that is low in uric acid is important for lowering the risk of a gout attack. Following a Mediterranean diet that includes plant-based proteins, vegetables, fruits and nuts can have a favorable impact on reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome. Avoiding foods high in purines, such as red meat, alcohol, and high fructose corn syrup will also help gout medicine be more effective and prevent flare-ups.
Medications used to treat gout attacks can include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, or stronger prescription medications, such as indomethacin or celecoxib. Corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, may be prescribed to control gout inflammation and pain. Your doctor may also recommend the anti-inflammatory drug colchicine.
Is this a condition that can reappear after treatment?
In most people, a first acute gout attack comes without warning, and there aren’t any other symptoms of high uric acid. Prevention efforts for gout are focused on preventing future attacks or lessening their severity.