Treatment for Gout & Other Types of Arthritis Available in Houston, TX
Gout is a complex form of inflammatory arthritis caused by an accumulation of urate crystals in the joints. Urate crystals form when a high level of uric acid is present in the blood. Uric acid is a waste product that is naturally produced by the body as it digests purines, a substance found in certain protein-rich foods. Normally, uric acid travels through the bloodstream to the kidneys and then is flushed out with the urine. Gout can develop if the body produces too much uric acid or the kidneys do not eliminate it efficiently.
What are the symptoms of gout?
Gout can cause sudden, severe bouts of joint pain, swelling, warmth and redness. Oftentimes, the pain strikes in the middle of the night and disrupts sleep. While gout can affect any joint in the body, it most often occurs in the joint at the base of the big toe, or the knee.
Usually, gout affects just one joint at a time. However, if left untreated, it may progress and spread to multiple joints. Gout can also lead to the development of other health issues, such as kidney stones and tophi (lumps of crystallized uric acid that form under the skin or in other tissues).
How is gout treated?
Gout is a chronic condition that cannot be cured. However, it can be effectively managed with a combination of medications to control uric acid levels and treat inflammatory flare-ups, and diet and lifestyle modifications. Other ways to control the associated joint pain and swelling include:
- Applying an ice pack and elevating the affected joint
- Drinking plenty of water and other fluids (but avoid caffeinated, alcoholic and sugary beverages)
- Reducing stress and relaxing as much as possible
- Seeking assistance with everyday tasks
To help prevent gout and reduce the severity of gout attacks, it is important to maintain a healthy body weight and limit consumption of meat, fish and poultry, which can help reduce the body’s production of uric acid. Some experts believe that low-fat dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt may have a protective effect against gout, so these foods are often recommended as good sources of protein.
Because gout is also associated with some serious health risks, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease and cardiovascular disease, it’s important to seek medical attention if you experience any sudden, intense joint pain. In Houston, Texas, you can consult with an experienced rheumatologist at Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. Contact us today.