Arthritis is a chronic condition characterized by the deterioration or inflammation of joint cartilage. It affects about 50 million adults and roughly 300,000 children in the US. Despite the pain and discomfort of arthritis overall, some types of arthritis are especially difficult to endure. Gout is a common type of arthritis that causes joints to noticeably swell, causing pain.
As we get older, the possibility of developing gout becomes more likely. That’s why Jeffrey Miller, MD of Osteoporosis and Rheumatology Center of Tampa Bay in Tampa, Florida is dedicated to helping people chart a path to joint health. Here’s what he’d like you to know about gout, including how to prevent it.
Gout is a common form of arthritis that primarily affects joints of the toes, ankles, and feet. A condition called hyperuricemia is responsible for gout. Hyperuricemia occurs when there are high levels of uric acid in the body, which can cause crystals to form in the joints, or in the kidneys. When formed in the kidneys, these crystals are called kidney stones, and can be the source of intense pain.
One of the hallmark signs of arthritis is the appearance of swollen, tender joints. However, the signs of gout can also include:
Men are about three times more likely than women to suffer from gout, although women are more likely to be affected after menopause. Risk factors for gout include:
Gout remains active for no more than a few weeks at a time. When your gout symptoms aren’t active, your gout is in remission but can return without proper treatment.
Treating gout is one of Dr. Miller’s specialties, and there are several options for treatment. One of the more conservative treatments is the use of anti-inflammatory medication, some of which are available over-the-counter. Some are able to get relief by simply icing the affected area or areas.
For more serious gout flare-ups that aren’t relieved by more conservative treatments, Dr. Miller may prescribe colchicine, which is also a preventative for future flare-ups. He may also prescribe anakinra, which is typically used to treat other types of arthritis but has been shown to effectively relieve symptoms of gout in some individuals.
Preventing or reducing the severity of gout is easier than you may think. Your diet and activity level play a critical role in preventing gout, and simple swaps can change your outlook for gout:
There is no cure for gout, but as previously mentioned, gout does not generally remain active for more than a few weeks at a time. If you’re struggling with the symptoms of gout, or think that you might be at risk of developing gout, call us today at 813-336-3793 for an appointment.