Chances are, you know you’re having a gout attack thanks to its hallmark symptom of intense pain and swelling in the joint of your large toe. The biggest worry about having one gout attack is that future episodes follow. Board-certified rheumatologist Ariel D. Teitel, MD, provides individualized treatments that alleviate your symptoms during an attack, and more importantly, help prevent future episodes. To get comprehensive care for gout, call the office near Columbus Circle in Manhattan, New York City, or book an appointment online today.
Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when uric acid crystals build up in your joints. Uric acid, a natural waste product formed during metabolism, is normally eliminated in your urine. Your chances of developing gout increase as blood levels of uric acid rise.
You can have high uric acid as the side effect of a chronic health condition such as diabetes, kidney disease, and high blood pressure. Some medications boost blood levels of uric acid.
Your risk for gout also rises if you consume high-purine foods. A few of the top sources of purines are anchovies, shellfish, sardines, red meat, organ meats, beer, and red wine.
When you have high blood levels of uric acid, the chemical turns into crystals. Then the crystals build up in your joints and cause gout. Gout typically begins in the joint at the base of your big toe, but it may also appear in your midfoot, ankle, or other joints.
The first gout flare-up is notorious for developing suddenly during the night. As you sleep, the joint quickly becomes swollen, red, and intensely painful. The most severe pain typically lasts 4-12 hours, but you can have ongoing discomfort for weeks.
After your first gout attack, the condition recurs. The flares occur more often as time goes by and each one causes worse symptoms. Over time, the uric acid crystals form hard lumps (tophi) that damage the joint and cause joint deformities.
Dr. Teitel reduces gout activity and keeps gout at bay using an approach that combines lifestyle modifications and medications:
Reducing or eliminating high-purine foods and alcohol goes a long way toward controlling gout. Maintaining a healthy body weight also helps. The more you weigh, the less uric acid your kidneys eliminate, so your risk of developing the condition increases.
Dr. Teitel prescribes medications based on your symptoms and history of flare-ups. Some medications relieve inflammation and acute pain during a flare; others prevent future gout attacks and lower your risk of tophi by lowering your blood levels of uric acid.
If you can’t tolerate standard medications, Dr. Teitel may prescribe a short course of an advanced biologic medication.
Seeking prompt treatment after your first gout attack can ward off future flares. To get customized care, call Ariel D. Teitel, MD, or book an appointment online today.