Thursday, 18 May 2017 00:00

Is That Foot Pain a Gout Attack?

What Is Gout, Anyway?

 

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that develops in people when uric acid in your blood builds to atypically high levels. The acid creates sharp, needle-like crystals in your joints. Sudden, episodes of intense discomfort occur. There are numerous references to what we now know to be gout in the literature and historical documents of the past.  Eating rich food or consuming too much alcohol can lead to a gout attack.  Because such indulgences were once available only to the upper classes, gout was known as “the disease of kings.” Now everyone is at risk.

 

How to Identify Gout

Gout causes severe attacks of pain, redness, warmth, tenderness, and swelling in joints. The signs and symptoms of gout almost always occur suddenly — frequently overnight — and without previous indication that an attack is imminent. These symptoms include:

$1·      Intense joint pain, typically in the big toe

$1·      Limited range of motion

$1·      Inflammation and redness

$1·      Lingering discomfort

 

Your Risk of Gout

4% of American adults have gout. Your health history and lifestyle influence your level of risk.

$1·      People who are very overweight are at a higher risk for gout. These people typically suffer first gout attacks at a younger age than people of average weight.

$1·      Those who high levels of red meat and shellfish in their diet are at increased risk of gout.

$1·      Heavy drinkers increase their risk of gout. Those who consume an average of more than two liquor drinks or two beers a day are at higher risk.

$1·      Put down that soda! Sugary drinks contribute to increased gout risk.

$1·      Did Mom or Dad have gout? Those with a family history of gout are more likely to develop the disease.

$1·      Health conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease increase your gout risk.

$1·      Age and gender are risk factors. Up to age 60, gout is more prevalent in men than in women. Doctors aren’t sure why this is true, but it is believed that naturally occurring estrogen protects women up to that point.

Stages of Gout

 

If uric acid levels spike or previously formed crystals are jostled, you might experience a “gout attack.” Gout attacks can be triggered by overconsumption of red meat, seafood, beer, liquor, or sweetened beverages, and by dehydration or surgery…or they can be “idiopathic,” meaning there’s no identifiable trigger.  The symptoms typically get better after a few days and tend to go away within a week without any intervention.

The time between attacks is known as “interval gout.” Although there’s no pain during interval gout, the gout isn’t gone. It’s waiting to strike again. The long-term presence of low-level inflammation may be causing permanent damage to joints. Boris Abramov, DPM and Tatyana Abramova, DPM recommend lifestyle changes, possibly accompanied by medication, at this point.

Chronic gout develops when uric acid levels remain high over a long period of time. Attacks become more frequent and more severe. Permanent joint damage, leading to mobility loss, can occur. This stage can be avoided with proper treatment.

Get Help for Gout

 

Have you recently experienced pain that may have been a gout attack? Abramov’s Comprehensive Foot Care can help before it gets worse. Dr. Boris Abramov and Dr. Tatyana Abramova have years of experience diagnosing gout symptoms and treating gout pain. Call 443-872-7052 or click here to schedule an appointment in our convenient Pikesville office today.