Integral Rheumatology & Immunology Specialists
Rheumatologists located in Plantation, FL
You can’t mistake a gout flare-up — you’ll suddenly develop an inflamed joint and experience extreme pain. After your first episode, all symptoms disappear, so you may not consider a trip to the doctor. Dr. Guillermo Valenzuela and Dr. Marilu Colon encourage you to get an evaluation even if you feel fine, so you can prevent future painful gout episodes. The team at Integral Rheumatology & Immunology Specialists has extensive experience helping patients with gout, so call their office in Plantation, Florida, or use the online booking tool to schedule an appointment.
Gout Q & A
What is Gout?
Gout is a type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in your joints. These crystals develop when you have high blood levels of uric acid, a problem that develops when you have an excessive amount of purines.
So what are purines? Purines are substances naturally found in foods and produced in your body, where they help form DNA. When your body metabolizes purines, uric acid is produced.
Gout develops when you produce too much uric acid or, more commonly, when your kidneys can’t remove enough, so it stays in your blood rather than being excreted in urine. When blood levels of uric acid are too high, urate crystals accumulate in your joints.
What Increases Your Risk of Gout?
You may inherit a genetic predisposition to developing gout. Other causes of high uric acid include:
- Medications – diuretics and low-dose aspirin
- Medical conditions – kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension
- Diet – foods high in purine, alcohol
- Obesity – body produces more uric acid
What are the Symptoms of Gout?
Your first sign of gout is likely to be a sudden, intensely painful flare-up with a swollen, red, and warm joint. About half of first episodes occur in the big toe, but gout can develop in any joint.
After your first attack, you may never have another attack or you may have a second episode after a period of time without symptoms.
When recurrent gout develops, you’ll begin to have frequent flare-ups and pain between attacks. You may also experience a limited range of motion in the joint.
Untreated gout causes urate crystals to accumulate, causing nodules under your skin and damaging joints.
How is Gout Treated?
Different treatment approaches include:
- Lifestyle Changes to Prevent or Control Gout: High-purine foods often trigger a gout flare-up. Dietary changes alone may be sufficient to control gout if you have mildly elevated blood levels of uric acid. A diet to prevent gout means limiting or eliminating high-purine foods such as red meat, meat gravy, shellfish, and beer.
- Medications to Treat Attacks: During an acute flare-up, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and colchicine relieve pain, while corticosteroids reduce inflammation and pain.
- Medications to Prevent Attacks: Your doctor may prescribe one of several possible medications that decrease uric acid production or increase uric acid excretion.
To receive expert treatment for gout, call Integral Rheumatology & Immunology Specialists or book an appointment online.