Gout – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Gout – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Which are the stages of gout illness?

In the rule there are three stages of gout illness. The first stage is characterized by high amounts of uric acid levels in blood but no symptoms. Sometimes the presence of kidney stones comes before the first attack of gout.

In the second stage several periodical gout attacks are present due to the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints. The first joint to experience a gout attack is usually the big toe. At first, the gout attacks come and go and the attacked joint feels normal but over time the time between the attacks becomes shorter, they may be more painful and they may involve several joints.

In the third stage several joints are affected and the symptoms may never go away. Besides, tophi (gritty nodules) are formed under the skin. If left untreated, the tophi may form into cartilage of the external ear or the tissues around the joint (bursae, ligaments, tendons) causing pain, swelling, redness and inflammation. Moreover a progressive crippling and destruction of cartilage and bone is possible. The third stage is not common due to tha fact that gout is being treated already in earlier stages.

2. How is a gout attack treated?

If you are being diagnosed with gout a shot of corticosteroids or a large daily dose of one or more medicines are prescribed until the symptoms disappear. Normally the pain disappears after 24 hours of medicine intake

3. Which medicines increase uric acid levels?

The regular intake of medicines such as aspirin, diuretics, chemotherapy medicines and medicines that supress the immune system (e.g. cyclosporine) increase the uric acid level.

4. Which conditions related to diet and body weight may cause gout?

Having extreme overweight (obesity), the heavy use of alcohol (e.g. beer), consuming regularly high amounts of meat and seafood, which is high in purines, being dehydrated frequently and very low-calory diets increase the risk of developing gout.

5. Which diseases may appear in people who have gout?

Gout can cause some other illnessessuch as diabetes, kidney diseases, high blood pressure, artherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), psoriasis, multiple myeloma, hemolytic anemia or tumors, heart diseases, acute illness or infection and injuries to a joint.

6. Which tests and exams are conducted may help diagnosing and treating gout?

An arthrocentesis (joint fluid analysis) is the only certain way to diagnose gout because it shows if uric acid crystals are persent. If the doctor can not safely get fluid from the affected joint, a test to measure levels of uric acid in blood is done. Besides, a test to measure uric acid levels in the urine and a physical exam are also conducted in order to diagnose and treat gout.

7. What can I do in order to treat an accute gout atack?

All patients are advised to rest and elevate the affected joint(s), use ice to reduce swelling and take short-term medicines at the first sign of a gout attack as prescribed by the doctor. Please keep in mind that aspirin may not be taken to release pain due to the negative effects that it has in gout.

8. How are further gout attacks prevented?

The first thing to do is to control the weight following a diet that is low in fat. It is important to avoid very low-fat diets because they increase the amount of uric acid produced by the body and may bring a gout attack. Second, a moderate exercise program can be included in the daily routine. Limiting alcohol consumption reduces the release of uric acid by the kidneys into the urine causing an increase of uric acid in the body. Specially beer, meat and seafood contain high amounts of purine, which raises uric acid levels. If you are already taking other medicines to treat other conditions please share it with your doctor because some of them may increase the uric acid level.