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Gout: Causes, Treatments, And Prevention

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You suddenly wake up in the middle of the night to a searing sensation in your foot. You frantically turn on the lights only to find your big toe bloated beyond recognition. The swelling was not there just a few hours ago. The pain is so agonizing that you cannot even walk. 

You may just have experienced your first gout attack. The pain and swelling may have subsided for now, but they may come back. 

Do not leave your condition to chance. You will find that the right medications and life habits can keep gout away for good. 

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Everything You Need To Know About Gout Attacks

When uric acid accumulates in the bloodstream, it may form crystal deposits in your joints—most often around your big toe. The resulting pain from this inflammation is as excruciating as it is sudden. 

Gout attacks come and go. It can completely subside on its own after a few weeks, but it will almost certainly come back if not treated with medication. Simply enduring gout attacks is rarely a viable long-term solution. In addition to extreme recurrent pain, gout can cause kidney stones and joint damage. 

Our NYC podiatrists at To Healthy Feet Podiatry have a lengthy track record of managing and treating foot-related gout attacks. See how we can help you prevent future flare-ups by calling (917) 398-3668 or filling out the online form below.

What Causes Gout

Your body keeps you healthy by naturally breaking down and eliminating toxins and other chemical compounds. One such chemical compound is purine, which is found in some foods, such as fish, red meat, alcohol, and soft drinks. 

When your body breaks down purine, uric acid is produced. Normally, the uric acid is ejected via urine. However, excess uric acid can sometimes remain in the bloodstream. When that happens, the uric acid builds up as needle-like crystals around joints, including the big toe. 

Gout attacks cause debilitating pain for up to 24 hours before tapering off in the course of a few weeks. 

How To Treat Gout 

Letting gout attacks run their course is generally ill-advised. If ignored, flare-ups may come back more frequently. Over time, you could develop kidney stones and joint damage. 

Treatments for gout aim to reduce symptoms and prevent future flare-ups. 

If you are currently fighting off a gout attack, your doctor or podiatrist will first address your symptoms. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, colchicine, and corticosteroids can help reduce inflammation and pain. 

Your health practitioner will also prescribe you medication to reduce the amount of uric acid your body produces (xanthine oxidase inhibitors) or to improve your body’s ability to eliminate the compound (probenecid). These medications help combat the causes of gout and should help prevent future attacks from occurring. 

How To Prevent Gout

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risks of a gout attack. Concrete measures include:

  • Limit alcohol and soft drinks: Alcohol and drinks high in fructose are rich in purines. This means more uric acid for your body to contend with. Drink healthier alternatives, including water. 
  • Eat purine-rich food in moderation: High-protein foods tend to contain purines. These include red meat, organ meat, and seafood. Dairy products are a great source of protein that are also low in purines. 
  • Exercise regularly: A healthy weight is associated with reduced risks of gout. If you have had gout attacks, opt for low-intensity exercises that do not strain your joints. 

Managing Gout Is Easier Than You Think 

Gout is probably not a condition you can ignore, even if you wanted to. Flare-ups are so painful that otherwise healthy patients have been nailed to their bed or needing a wheelchair to move around. 

Fortunately, gout is rarely a life-threatening condition and can be addressed with a combination of treatments and preventative measures. Anti-inflammatory drugs treat symptoms, and prescription medications attack the cause of the problem. Healthy habits help keep gout from returning. 

Our NYC podiatrists at To Healthy Feet Podiatry are proficient in gout diagnosis, treatments, and prevention. We are a one-stop shop for all things goot-related. Call (917) 398-3668 or fill out the online contact form to see what we can do for your gout attack.

FAQs

Q: Who is at risk of gout?
A: Certain factors may increase your chances of suffering a gout attack. These include:

  • Family history
  • Age 
  • Weight 
  • Certain surgeries 
  • Certain medications  

Q: Does gout last forever?
A: Some people experience renewed gout attacks if they stop taking medications. If this applies to you, you may have to take medications for a lifetime. 

Q: What is pseudogout?
A: Pseudogout is often confused with gout due to similar symptoms. However, this condition is not caused by crystallized uric acid but crystallized calcium phosphate. 

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