Patient Education

Gout

What is Gout?
Gout is a general term for conditions that are caused by a buildup of uric acid. Gouty Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, but it most commonly affects the big toe joints. Other common sites are the knees, ankles and hands.

What are the Symptoms of Gout?
People who have gout will feel a sudden, intense pain and redness in the affected joint, most often the big toe joint. There is usually no history of trauma to the joint. People often affected with gout will say that just the bed sheet touching their joint will cause pain.

What causes Gout?
Gout is caused by too much uric acid and is a complex disease. In simple terms, it is either caused by producing too much uric acid, or not eliminating enough uric acid.

Producing too much uric acid can be caused by blood or metabolic disorders, or by diet. Often alcohol, shellfish, red meats and organ meats can cause an increase in uric acid and thus causing gout.

On the other hand, Gout can be caused by your body's inability to eliminate uric acid, thus allowing uric acid to accumulate in your joints. Being dehydrated or starved can make it difficult for your body to excrete the uric acid. Certain diseases and disorders, such as kidney or thyroid problems, as well as certain medications, can also impair your body's ability to eliminate uric acid.

Who can get Gout?
Anyone can get gout, but most commonly it is males aged 30-50 and post-menopausal women.

Are there are any way to help prevent Gout?
There are a few ways to help reduce the risk of getting Gout

  • Limit how much alcohol you drink.
  • Limit eating foods with purine (shellfish, lamb/pork/beef)
  • Eat more vegetables
  • Follow a low-fat, non-dairy diet.
  • Exercise and lose weight.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Stay hydrated.

How is Gout Treated?

Gout can be treated by Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflamatories (NSAIDS), Oral steroids, and Cortisone injections, as well as medication specifically to reduce the uric acid and medication to help eliminate the uric acid.

When Should You Seek Treatment for Gout?
Since Gout is very painful, the sooner you seek treatment the sooner the pain will subside. Gout left untreated can cause a variety of serious conditions affecting your joints and body.