The intense agony gout can cause is due to a build-up of uric acid crystals in your joints. If you're suffering from attacks of gout, the expert rheumatology team at Arthritis Associates in San Antonio, Texas, can help. They have extensive experience diagnosing and treating gout and a similar condition, pseudogout, using advanced methods to manage your pain and prevent the disease from worsening. For the most effective gout therapies, call Arthritis Associates to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.
Gout is an especially painful variety of arthritis where uric acid crystals build up in your joints. It can affect any joint and often appears in the feet, ankles, knees, and elbows. The most common place to develop gout, however, is in the joint where your big toe joins your foot.
The uric acid that forms crystals in your joints when you have gout comes from substances called purines present in some foods. When you eat anything containing purines, your body digests and metabolizes them, producing uric acid as a by-product.
Your kidneys process any excess uric acid, and you pass it out in your urine. However, if you produce large amounts of uric acid or your body doesn’t flush it out when you urinate, it can build up in your bloodstream. The uric acid then settles in one or more of your joints and crystallizes, triggering gout attacks.
Pseudogout (calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease or CPPD) is a similar condition most often affecting the knee. Like gout, pseudogout causes intense pain due to the formation of crystals in the joint. However, in this case, the substance that crystallizes is calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate rather than uric acid.
Your risk of getting gout increases if you eat a lot of foods that are high in purine, like red and organ meats and shellfish.
Having a condition such as diabetes, kidney disease, or high blood pressure can affect your ability to process and expel uric acid and make it easier for crystals to form.
Medications like aspirin, nicotinic acid, and diuretics (water pills) are another risk factor, and you might inherit the tendency to develop gout.
Gout attacks happen suddenly, often while you're asleep. The affected joint is red, swollen, and exceptionally painful. The intense pain typically eases off within hours or days, but your joints are likely to be sore and uncomfortable for several weeks after an attack.
These attacks increase in frequency and severity as the uric acid crystals implant themselves in the joint. In time, these crystals or tophi can cause permanent joint damage.
The team at Arthritis Associates uses various medications to treat your gout. Some address the acute pain and inflammation you experience during an attack of gout. Other drugs help prevent acute gout pain by helping your body get rid of excess uric acid or reduce its production.
If your gout is severe, you could benefit from an intravenous infusion of pegloticase at the Arthritis Associates IV infusions suite.
If you're dreading the next attack of gout, get prompt, expert treatment by calling Arthritis Associates or booking an appointment online today.