How You Can Protect Your Joints From the Effects of Gout

If you're one of the eight million Americans with gout, you probably experience severe pain in one of your joints (most commonly, your big toe). 

At Rheumatology Solutions in Northeast San Antonio, we frequently treat patients with gout. We can’t cure it for good, but we can keep it from getting worse so it doesn’t progress to arthritis with increasing levels of pain. Here's what our expert team recommends to help patients minimize the impacts of their condition.

What is gout?

When you have gout, your system struggles to correctly regulate the levels of uric acid in your blood. Your body makes uric acid when it breaks down naturally-present purines, as well as when digesting protein-rich foods. Excess uric acid builds up when your body produces too much or when it cannot eliminate enough to maintain acceptable levels.

This excess uric acid in your blood, called hyperuricemia, leads to the formation of small, spiky urate crystals. These crystals can settle into your soft tissues or joints. Your body responds to the presence of uric acid crystals by activating your immune system, the same way it would if an attacking germ showed up. When your immune system kicks in, it sends an influx of white blood cells to the area, causing inflammation. You’ll experience symptoms like redness, swelling, fever, and pain. 

Gout attacks can last between three to 10 days, and can seriously damage your quality of life.

How can you fight gout? 

To keep your gout in remission and avoid the painful symptoms of inflammation, you need to take proactive steps. With a combination of lifestyle changes and medical support, you can live free from gout pain. This treatment plan can also help weaken attacks and clear them up quickly if they occur. 

After you've been diagnosed with gout at Rheumatology Solutions, we'll work with you to put together a customized treatment plan to manage your condition. 

We may recommend you take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain and inflammation, as well as medications including:

Along with these prescriptions, we also recommend making some targeted lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of gout. We've learned from many patients that being overweight and drinking too much can increase their risk of gout. So, try to maintain a healthy weight and limit the amount of high-purine foods and beverages you consume. 

If you're concerned about managing your gout, contact our expert team at Rheumatology Solutions today. We can diagnose your gout and put you on a customized treatment plan that will lower your symptoms (and pain) and protect your joints.

Contact our office today to request your initial consultation appointment online.

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