This painful inflammatory joint condition has traditionally been thought of as a “rich person’s disease” for its associations with rich food and strong drink — but the truth is more complex. Gout can affect anyone, and when it does, it commonly strikes the joints of the toes and feet. Let’s examine this debilitating ailment’s causes and symptoms, as well as the strategies we can employ to help you overcome it.
Technically, gout is a kind of arthritis, a term that simply means “joint pain” and encompasses at least 100 different conditions. It occurs when urate crystals, which are made of uric acid, form in the joints.
High excessive uric acid levels in the body (hyperuricemia) are commonly caused by the ingestion of too many foods rich in purines. Examples include red meats, organ meats, seafood, beer, liquor, and sweetened beverages. Obesity is another common factor in gout development. (These triggers make it easy to see why gout has often been characterized as a rich person’s disease.) Diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, dehydration, medical stress, and a family history of gout may also make you vulnerable to the condition.
Hyperuricemia may create uric acid deposits in your body for quite some time without producing obvious symptoms. But when gout does finally raise its ugly head, you’ll know it. Many people first experience gout as a sharp, agonizing pain in the base of a big toe, typically while in bed at night. But gout can also affect other toe joints, as well as the knees or ankles. Over time, isolated incidences of gout can progress into a chronic affliction. The joints may appear swollen and deformed as the uric acid crystals continue to grow. If you let the condition go unaddressed, the damage to the affected joints may become permanent.
Thankfully, modern medicine offers a number of treatment strategies to keep gout at bay. At Premier Podiatry, our experienced podiatrist Dr. Velimir Petkov can alleviate acute symptoms through medications such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and corticosteroids. If you suffer from regular attacks of gout, we may also prescribe specific medications that can help control your uric acid levels. These drugs include probenecid, febuxostat, and allopurinol. A medication called colchicine can be taken as a daily preventative if you have a serious gout problem. We may also recommend that you seek treatment for underlying systemic issues such as diabetes or hypertension.
Adopting a healthier lifestyle can prove highly effective in reducing your susceptibility to gout, even if you have a family history of the problem. We can evaluate your diet and show you how to steer clear of purine-rich food sources. A healthier diet can also aid weight loss, another smart anti-gout strategy; we will be happy to counsel you on how you can achieve these goals.
Dr. Velimir Petkov And The Staff At Premier Podiatry in New Jersey Can Help You Conquer Your Gout.
Gout doesn’t just affect rich people – and it can make your quality of life very poor indeed. If you are looking for a podiatrist in Clifton, NJ or Wayne, NJ, contact us today to learn more about how Dr. Petkov can rescue your feet from this painful problem!