It’s a condition that affects more than 3 million Americans. Gout can cause severe pain that can last for days. Lee Health family medicine Dr. Jonathan Brisson says the pain can come on suddenly, often at night. “Typically it’s unprovoked pain in the joint. It’s usually excruciating or severe in nature.”
Gout is a common diagnosis for both men and women. It can cause severe pain in the joints, particularly the big toe. “Gout is an inflammatory condition that causes crystals to deposit into your joints. The crystals are made of uric acid,” said Dr. Brisson.
Patients with gout either don’t secrete enough uric acid, or they make too much uric acid. Patients can experience pain, swelling, and the area may be warm and red.
Gout can be caused by weight and diet. “It can be provoked by eating foods that are high in purines. Purine is an organic compound that’s found in a lot of the foods that we eat. So if you eat too much red meat you might have it, alcohol can cause it, and there are certain vegetables like bean and lentils that have a relatively high amount as well,” said Dr. Brisson.
Patients can prevent gout by avoiding too much red meat and alcohol and increasing physical activity.
“Typical treatments are anti-inflammatory medications, similar to ibuprofen that you buy over the counter, there are prescription strength versions of anti-inflammatory,” said Dr. Brisson.
If a patient is experiencing symptoms, doctors can do a blood test to determine how much uric acid is in the blood. If a patient has gout doctors may encourage anti-inflammatories and a modified diet to help alleviate pain and shorten the attack.
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