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Information on Gout



 

What is Gout?

Gout is a type of arthritis caused by excess uric acid (a waste product made by the body) in the blood. Everyone has uric acid in his or her body. It comes from substances called purines. Most uric acid comes from purines made naturally by the body. The rest comes from purines in your diet. When the amount of uric acid gets too concentrated, sharp spiked crystals form. These crystals collect in the joints and cause swelling and intense pain. Gout attacks usually come on suddenly, without warning and typically last 12 to 24 hours. The most common area for gout to appear is the base of the big toe, but gout attacks can also affect the ankles, knees, hands, and wrists. If left unattended, gout attacks happen more frequently and can eventually cause permanent disfigurement and damage the joints.
 

What are Symptoms of Gout?

Have you ever experienced a hot, painful feeling in your big toe in the middle of the night? Did the painful area seem swollen and inflamed (red)? This can be a symptom of gout.

What Causes a Gout Attack?

  • Alcohol (Red wine, beer)
  • Meats (Processed, turkey, red)
  • Organ Meats (Liver, kidney, sweetbread)
  • Shellfish (Mussel, shrimp, scallop, lobster, crab)
  • Assorted Fish (Mackerel, herring, sardine, anchovy)
  • Non-Diet Soft Drinks
 
Gout treatment and prevention - Podiatrist in Bloomington-Normal, Pontiac, and Clinton
 
You should avoid these foods and drinks as they could cause gout attacks, but, be aware that, while limiting or even cutting out all of the above foods and drinks high in purines, changing your diet alone may not be enough to reduce the buildup of uric acid and help alleviate future attacks. Talk to your podiatrist about the proper routine for your body. Some health problems such as obesity and high cholesterol make gout more likely. Also, some prescriptions such as “water pills” can trigger a gout attack.

Preventing Gout

 
  1. Rest the joint as much as you can
  2. Raise the painful joint so it is at a level higher than your heart
  3. Lose weight if you need to
  4. Control blood pressure and cholesterol
 
  1. Drink plenty of water to help flush uric acid from your body
  2. Avoid the alcohol and foods that trigger gout
  3. Take any long-term control medications prescribed by your doctor
 
Your podiatrist will ask you questions as to where and how often you feel pain. He or she will also ask you about your eating habits, prescriptions, and how much alcohol you consume. Your podiatrist will examine your feet for signs of gout. X-rays may be taken to check for changes in your bones. If necessary your podiatrist will use a syringe and draw some fluid from your joint to be analyzed for uric crystals. Your podiatrist may also take a sample of your blood to look for uric acid.
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