You’ll recognize gout when it appears. It sneaks up during the night, causing sudden, severe pain and swelling in the joint of your big toe. The experienced specialists at the Rheumatic Disease Center in Milwaukee, Glendale, and Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, encourage you to seek immediate treatment after your first gout attack. Without treatment, these flare-ups will happen again and again with increasing frequency and discomfort. Call the nearest office today or use online booking to request a prompt gout appointment.
Gout is a form of arthritis marked by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. Uric acid is a waste product naturally created during metabolism and eliminated in your urine. When the uric acid level in your blood rises higher than normal, it turns into tiny crystals.
Some medications and chronic health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), and kidney disease increase uric acid levels. You can also end up with too much uric acid if you consume high-purine products, like shellfish, sardines, red meat, organ meats, beer, and red wine.
Gout is notorious for causing a sudden flare-up during the night, usually in the joint at the base of your big toe. The affected joint becomes swollen, red, and quite painful. The most intense pain lasts 4-12 hours, but lingering discomfort can last for weeks.
After your first attack, gout recurs and can affect your midfoot, ankle, wrist, elbow, and other joints. Flare-ups occur more frequently as time passes, with each attack causing more severe symptoms. Without treatment, the crystals form hard lumps, called tophi, that damage the joint, causing deformities.
Gout symptoms are often distinct enough to diagnose the problem. Your Rheumatic Disease Center provider can extract fluid from the joint to verify you have gout and rule out another inflammatory arthritis. This fluid is examined under the microscope for uric acid crystals.
They might also conduct on-site diagnostic testing. For example, ultrasound reveals early signs of gout, while X-rays show the extent of bone damage due to long-term gout.
The Rheumatic Disease Center combines medication and lifestyle changes to prevent future gout attacks.
Reducing or eliminating high-purine products might be all you need to do to control your gout. Your provider gives you a list of foods and beverages to avoid.
Your provider at the Rheumatic Disease Center prescribes medication based on your symptoms and how often you suffer gout attacks. Some medicines reduce the pain and inflammation during an attack. Others prevent flare-ups and lower uric acid levels in your blood.
Call the Rheumatic Disease Center today or request an appointment online immediately after a gout attack. Seeking prompt treatment goes a long way toward warding off future gout attacks.