Gout is a very common condition that targets the joints. It is caused by small crystals that form in and around the joints, leading to inflammation, pain and swelling. If you notice symptoms, it is best to consult a gout doctor. Brisbane patients can turn to the experts at arthritisCARE for assistance in dealing with this painful condition.
The crystals which cause the symptoms of gout form from uric acid, one of the body’s normal waste products. Usually, the body will rid itself of any extra uric acid via the kidneys, however, when this does not happen fast enough, uric acid levels build up and the crystals will form. Patients will then experience the painful symptoms of gout.
As we are one of the leading gout specialists Brisbane offers, read on for more information from arthritisCARE re this condition. We are well experienced in effective treatment of gout, as we are for other conditions including Ankylosing Spondylitis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Who is affected by gout?
Gout can appear in people of all ages. If however, signs of gout are found in pre-menopausal women, there may be a need to investigate the symptoms further, as this is a relatively rare occurrence.
What are the gout symptoms?
Gout symptoms often arrive very quickly, sometimes even overnight. When they appear, joints become red, swollen and very painful to the point where they are intensely sore to touch.
It is common for gout to affect just one joint at a time, with the big toe being the most common area to be affected. Other joints, such as the hands, wrists, knees, ankles and elbows, may also be affected by gout.
Uric acid crystals which cause the symptoms of gout form from uric acid, one of the body’s normal waste products.
What causes gout?
This condition is usually brought on due to your kidneys not flushing uric acid from your body.
Gout can be hereditary with some lifestyle factors increasing your risk, including:
- obesity or even just being overweight
- high cholesterol, high blood pressure or glucose intolerance
- kidney disease
- being on diuretics (tablets that drain water from the body)
How do you diagnose gout?
Identifying the presence of urate crystals in fluid taken from your joint is the only way to correctly diagnose gout. Blood levels of uric acid can be measured by blood tests, but this can be less accurate.
What will gout do to me?
If left untreated, typical attacks of gout during the first few years last 7 to 14 days before resolving. Subsequent attacks can take months or even years to recur. But, if not managed well, gout attacks will reappear within progressively shorter time frames, with more severe pain and significant damage to the joints kicking in.
In some cases gout can progress into a chronic condition which causes the following:
- a constant mild pain and inflammation in the joints
- solid lumps of urate crystal on the toes, ears, fingers, hands, and other areas
- the development of kidney stones
It is common for gout to affect just one joint at a time, with the big toe being the most common area to be affected.
What is the available gout treatment Brisbane patients can access?
When you experience your first attack of gout, contact the expert team at arthritisCARE. We will be able to recommend medications or treatments to reduce pain and inflammation which may include:
- Corticosteroid injections or tablets
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Colchicine (which decreases swelling and lessens the build up of uric acid crystals)
It is important that you consult with our experts before taking any medications. Protecting the affected joint by limiting the amount of walking can also be of significant benefit.
Can you prevent gout?
Yes, gout can be prevented. By lowering your uric acid levels and monitoring them via a blood test, it is possible to prevent gout.
If you have gout, there are several ways to target the correct levels of uric acid to achieve less than 0.36 millimoles per litre, or less than 0.30 millimoles per litre in severe cases.
Treatments that can help reach these targets for uric acid levels can include:
- Medicines: You may be able to lower uric acid levels in your blood with a range of medicines that will need to be taken every day, regardless of whether you are having an attack or not.
- Alcohol: A reduction in the amount of alcohol you drink especially at one time (binge drinking).
- Weight loss: If you are overweight, you should aim to lose weight gradually via a healthy diet. Methods such as ‘starvation diets’ are not recommended as they can actually increase uric acid levels.
- Purine-rich foods: There are many misconceptions about diet and gout. For example, citrus fruits, tomatoes, meat or seafood are commonly thought to cause gout. Even Vegemite has been suggested as a trigger for gout attacks. However, there is no solid evidence that this is true. See this helpful Arthritis Australia Gout and Diet information sheet here for more information about this area of gout management.
Pseudogout is a condition which is often mistaken for gout due to the fact that it features a range of similar symptoms. However, pseudogout is actually caused by a different type of crystal, known as calcium pyrophosphate crystals. These crystals form in the cartilage - the smooth coating lining the ends of our bones. Being a separate condition to gout, it may require different treatment.
Help from our Rheumatologists
The arthritisCARE team has many years of experience in dealing with a range of inflammatory conditions.
Meet our team of Rheumatologists:
- Dr Peter Landsberg MBBS (HONS), FRACP, FRACGP, DIPRACOG
- Dr Louise McCormack BSC, MBBS (HONS), FRACP
- Dr Clare Owens MBBS, BSC, FRACP
- Dr Maryam Zia MBBS, FRACP
Book a consultation with one of our skilled Rheumatologists in Brisbane for an evaluation of your current situation. From here, we will determine the best course of action to help you to achieve relief from your pain.
Let the arthritisCARE team take care of your gout today
We have seen and treated many different cases of gout for many patients. We understand how difficult it can be to live with, which is why our team works hard to provide specialised relief, to improve your quality of life as quickly as is possible.
The team of skilled and experienced Rheumatologists on the arthritisCARE team make it much easier to handle the symptoms you are experiencing. We offer both female and male Rheumatologists, as we know the option of this choice is important to our patients..
Together, we can make your life more comfortable and enjoyable. Call us today.
Recommended further advice is available from:
Arthritis Australia's Gout Resources page
Arthritis Australia's Printable Information Sheet about Gout