Gout is a very painful form of arthritis that presents in acute and sudden attacks of intense pain. Though gout attacks most frequently occur at night, they can happen at any time with little or no warning. The most common symptom is extreme sensitivity, pain and tenderness at the base of the toe or in another joint, such as those of the hands, knees, or ankles. Severe symptoms may persist for several hours during an attack, after which time the residual pain may continue for several weeks.
Did you know…
that as much as 1 percent of American adults currently suffer from gout? The disease is especially common among post-menopausal women and over age 40. However, despite the fact that gout mainly affects older adults, younger people are also at risk for the disease – especially among individuals with a family history of the condition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Could I be at risk of developing gout or suffering from the disease now?
Nearly anyone can develop gout, but people who suffer from chronic medical conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes, are at an elevated risk of developing gout. You could also be at higher risk if you have a family history of the disease or regularly take aspirin or diuretics. Other risk factors for developing the disease include excessive alcohol consumption, age, genetics, and the use of certain medications.
What types of treatments are available to treat gout?
If you are currently experiencing the severe pain associated with gout, see a rheumatologist for a complete evaluation. Gout left untreated can lead to additional attacks, which may worsen with time. There is no cure for the disease, but medications are available to both help prevent gout attacks and also minimize the risk of complications related to attacks.
Is there anything I can do to help prevent gout attacks?
Aside from medications, you can also help prevent gout attacks by staying well-hydrated and following a low-purine diet with minimal red meat, seafood, bread and alcohol. Many cases of gout eventually subside on their own, but it is still important to seek medical evaluation by a rheumatologist.