Gout is a form of arthritis marked by sudden attacks of painful, inflamed joints, most common, the big toe joint. It is characterized by severe pain, swelling, redness, and warmth as well as stiffness in a joint or joints. Without treatment, gout attacks tend to recur and may cause severe damage to joints, tendons, and other tissues. Gout is most common in men and usually occur during cold winter nights.
Gout is caused by too much uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia). Hyperuricemia usually does no harm, and most people with high levels of uric acid in the blood never develop gout. When uric acid levels in the blood are too high, uric acid may form crystals that accumulate in the joints. The exact cause of hyperuricemia sometimes goes undiscovered, although inherited factors seem to play a role. Gout seem to flare up by eating meats, cheeses and seafood that are high in chemicals called purines, taking certain medications (especially aspirin and diuretics), and drinking too much alcohol especially red wine.
How is it treated?
The goals of treatment for gout are rapid pain relief and prevention of future gout attacks.
- A dose of cortisone shot mixed with local anesthetic provides instant relief to the foot.
- Prescribing Anti-inflammatory agents such as Indocin or Naproxen.
- Eliminating causes agents such as cheese, red meat and red wine.
- Increasing the fluid intake.
- Taking prescribed medication to lower the uric acid