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Gout is a specific type of arthritis that causes sudden painful attacks of swollen, inflamed joints. Gout mainly attacks the ankle, knee, and toe joints. With gout, uric acid collects in the blood, building up within joint fluid, causing crystals to form. The condition is also called “gouty arthritis.”
Living with gout can be uncomfortable and painful, but you can find resources and treatment options with the caring doctors at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospitals. Find a Doctor to learn more about treating gout in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.
Gout attacks usually come on suddenly, often during the night. The most common signs and symptoms of gout include painful, swollen joints, especially the big toe, along with redness and warmth in the affected joint.
Gout generally is an episodic condition, which means it comes and goes. It can turn into a chronic (long-term) disease if not treated.
Although gout is considered a form of arthritis, it is not caused by joint wear-and-tear like osteoarthritis. Gout is caused by the toxic buildup of a substance called uric acid in the blood. Normally, uric acid circulates in the body and is removed by the kidneys. However, if too much uric acid builds up in the bloodstream, it can form spiky crystals within the joint spaces, particularly in the toes. Excessive levels of uric acid also can cause kidney stones.
Certain risk factors can increase your chance of developing gout, including:
Treatment and prevention strategies for gout include easing painful symptoms and preventing a future attacks. For a first attack of gout, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication such as ibuprofen. If you have frequent attacks, your doctor may suggest other therapies, including an anti-gout medication called colchicine, corticosteroid injections to the inflamed joint, or medications like allopurinol to reverse abnormally high levels of uric acid.
Healthy lifestyle choices can have a positive effect on gout, and perhaps even prevent a flare. To lessen the chances for a gout flare up, drink plenty of water and maintain a healthy body weight. You also should avoid eating purine-rich foods, which include: