Gout is an arthritis that happens when uric acid occurs in the joints. There is acute gout, which only affects one joint and chronic gout which is repeated pain in several joints. Gout occurs when the body has too much uric acid and fluid retains around the joints. This causes the joint to become irritated and swell up. Doctors are not sure of the exact cause, but it does run in families. It is more common to see gout in males and people who consume alcohol. Medication such as hydrochlorothiazide can also contribute to higher levers of uric acid. Gout can develop in individuals who have kidney disease, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, leukemia and similar types of conditions.
Symptoms include: throbbing pain that starts in the middle of the night; joints that are red and tender and hurt when touched gently; fever; pain may go away and return several days later. After someone experiences symptoms the first time, they may not experience any symptoms at all if gout comes back. Some individuals may develop chronic arthritis which can lead to motion loss and pain in the joints. Lumps known as tophi will form below the skin and around joints. These only form if the patient has had gout for many years. Several tests to discover gout include: synovial fluid analysis, uric acid blood test, joint x-rays, and synovial biopsy.
For a sudden flare-up of gout the doctor will recommend taking anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or aspirin right when symptoms begin. Medication will need to be taken for 4-10 days. Some physicians will provide painkillers such as codeine or oxycodone. Another option is for the doctor to inject cortisone into the joint because if will help reduce the swelling and pain. After 12 hours of the injection, pain often goes away and is completely gone within two days.
Diet – Individuals with gout will need to change their diet and lifestyles to prevent future symptoms from reoccurring. Doctors suggest avoiding alcohol, oils, gravies, mushrooms, asparagus, beans and peas, anchovies, herring, cauliflower, salad dressings, fried foods and ice cream. People need to limit the amount of meat eaten at each meal and eat enough carbohydrates. If patients plan to lose weight, they need to lose it at a slow pace. Losing a lot of weight in a short period of time can contribute to uric acid kidney stones.