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Gout

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Gout

Is a type of inflammatory arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the body. The uric acid crystals are left in the joint tissue and cause sudden and severe joint pain, redness, swelling, and tenderness.

Uric acid can develop in any joint including the feet, ankles, knees, elbows, and wrists, but most commonly occurs in the big toe.

If you think you may be experiencing the symptoms of gout, call Ahmeys to make an appointment with one of our experts straight away, to ensure quick treatment and avoid lasting damage.

Symptoms

Symptoms and signs of gout can include:

  • Sudden, severe pain in a joint (usually the big toe, but can also be in the fingers, wrists, knees, or elbows)
  • Reddened, swollen, and hot skin over the affected joint
  • Gout usually presents symptoms without warning, often in the middle of the night

When to see an expert at Ahmeys

If you are experiencing the symptoms above, we recommend that you call Ahmeys to book an appointment. One of our experts can check your symptoms and conduct tests to confirm a diagnosis and rule out any other problems.

Call to make an urgent appointment with Ahmeys or call 111 if

  • The pain is getting worse rapidly and you have a very high temperature (you feel shivery and hot) as this could indicate that you have an infection in the joint.

Causes

Gout is caused by too much uric acid in the body. The uric acid crystals are left in the joint tissue and cause sudden and severe joint pain, redness, swelling, and tenderness.

Uric acid is produced by the body during the breakdown of chemical compounds called purines. These chemical compounds are found in high amounts in certain foods such as poultry, meat, and seafood.

Recent injury or surgery can also increase the risk of developing gout. There are also a number of other factors that can increase the likelihood of gout, which are:

  • Genetics: family history of the condition, which increases your likelihood of developing the condition
  • Age and gender: men are much more likely to develop gout, as they produce more uric acid than women. Women become more susceptible to gout after menopause when their uric acid levels approach those of men
  • Lifestyle choices: alcohol consumption inhibits the body’s removal of uric acid from the body. Eating high purine foods, as mentioned above, can increase the levels of uric acid in the body
  • Weight: being overweight increases the risk of gout as the increased body tissue means more production of uric acid as metabolic waste. Higher levels of body fat also increase levels of inflammation as fat cells produce pro-inflammatory cytokines
  • Medications: Some diuretics and drugs containing salicylate can increase the levels of uric acid in the body
  • Other health conditions: renal problems and other kidney problems in general, high blood pressure, diabetes, and an underactive thyroid can inhibit the body’s ability to remove waste products and elevate the levels of uric acid in the body

Diagnosis

If you are concerned about your gout symptoms, call Ahmeys to book an appointment with one of our experts to discuss your symptoms and potential treatments.

An expert at Ahmeys will review your symptoms and potentially perform the following diagnostic tests:

  • A physical exam to check for fluid around the joints, red or warm joints, and to test the range of motion of the affected joints
  • A joint fluid test, where fluid is extracted from the affected joint with a needle and then examined to see if any urate crystals are present and to rule out a bacterial cause
  • Blood tests to check for levels of uric acid in the blood
  • Conduct or refer you to a hospital for imaging scans such as MRI and CT scans to search for urate crystals around the joints. These procedures and X-rays can be used to rule out other causes of symptoms

Treatment

The majority of gout cases can be treated with medication. One of our experts is likely to prescribe over-the-counter painkillers, rest, and icing the affected joint. If gout does not improve within three to four days you may be given steroids as tablets or an injection.

Medication

  • Over the counter (OTC) pain relievers: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, to help control pain and reduce inflammation
  • Medication to reduce the production of uric acid: (xanthine oxidase inhibitors, such as allopurinol) can be used to reduce the production of uric acid. Alternatively, you may be prescribed a medication, such as probenecid, that helps to improve your kidney’s ability to remove uric acid from the body
  • Steroid injections: Steroids contain manmade versions of the hormone cortisol and can be used to treat gout. Injections of cortisone (an anti-inflammatory medication) can be made directly into the affected area (usually after a local anesthetic is used to numb the area and reduce pain), to help decrease inflammation

How to manage your symptoms

  • Apply a cold pack (ice pack, or bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel) to keep the joint cool. Do this for 20 minutes at a time
  • Take any medication prescribed by one of our experts at Ahmeys as soon as possible
  • Rest the limb and keep it elevated (raised)
  • Drink lots of water (unless advised otherwise by an Ahmeys expert)
  • Try to keep bedclothes off the affected joint at night
  • Avoid knocking or putting pressure on the joint
  • Take painkillers to reduce pain, but make sure that you follow the recommended dose and that the medication does not conflict with any other medication you are currently taking
  • If you are overweight, weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce symptoms of gout and reduce the risk of it repeating
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet with fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs
  • Reduce your alcohol intake
  • Exercise regularly, but avoid putting pressure on the joints or any high intensity or high impact exercises
  • If you are a smoker, stop smoking
  • Ask an Ahmeys expert about Vitamin C supplements
Faheem Ahmed

Have Questions?

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Providing NHS services

How to Find Us

Visit us at:
158 Oxford Road
Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2LA
Contact us at:
info@ahmeysclinic.com
01865 689 149

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