Gout is a common arthritic condition that causes pain and inflammation in your joints that can lead to redness and swelling. It is a type of arthritis that can be managed and treated with the help of a specialist.
IBJI recently chatted with Dr. Alfonso Bello, board certified rheumatologist, answers the most common questions asked about gout. His responses—below—have been edited and condensed for space.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gout
What is gout?
Dr. Bello: Gout is the most common inflammatory arthritis with around 8.3 million people in the U.S. It’s characterized by severe pain, redness, and tenderness in joints.
What causes gout?
Dr. Bello: Gout happens when there’s too much uric acid in the body causing inflammation and pain in the joints. Attacks usually begin in the big toe and become more chronic and progressive causing joint damage and disability.
What are the symptoms of gout?
Dr. Bello: Most patients experience rapid onset swelling and pain with a gout attack. It is considered the most painful form of arthritis. Many also can suffer from kidney stones as uric acid can accumulate in the kidneys. Few patients can develop crippling destructive arthritis due to lumps of uric acid the form “tophi” which are destructive to bones, skin and joints.
What is a gout attack?
Dr. Bello: A gout attack is characterized as a sudden painful arthritis that can occur at any time, most often at night. Attacks are most commonly seen in the feet and ankles, but can affect any joint. Attacks start with swelling warmth then severe pain due to the intense inflammation and can last 48-72 hours unless treated effectively.
What are the treatments for gout?
Dr. Bello: Treatment for gout starts with good hydration and a low gout-prevention diet. In this diet, we recommend to lower your intake of shellfish, limit organ meats like liver, limit high fructose drinks, and alcohol – mainly beer.
Dr. Bello: Most cases of gout occur in men over 50, but it can also occur in women and young people with a genetic predisposition.
Can gout be cured?
Dr. Bello: No, unfortunately, gout is not curable but it can be managed with medication and diet. The rheumatologists at IBJI are always here to help our gout patients in managing their inflammation and pain.
What happens if I don’t get my gout treated?
Dr. Bello: If you don’t seek treatment for gout, the patient can expect to have chronic pain and the destruction of your joints.
Can gout lead to other comorbidities?
Dr. Bello: Yes, gout can lead to other comorbidities. Typically, we see that most gout patients also have cardiovascular disease, kidney problems, obesity, high cholesterol or diabetes.
If I have a gout-related comorbidity, can it be treated and cured?
Dr. Bello: There is a strong relationship between the conditions listed above and gout that it is difficult to manage a condition such as cardiovascular disease if gout is not well controlled.
How often do I need to see a doctor for gout?
Dr. Bello: Once acute symptoms start you need to see a doctor to start the evaluation process to determine that the condition is in fact gout and not another form of arthritis. Then we will check your labs and recommend regular visits to monitor your medications.
Overall, Dr. Bello says that, “Gout is a simple condition to treat, do not ignore it.” Stay on top of your gout and get treated. If you don’t, your pain can worsen and lead to joint destruction. Manage your gout with the help of a rheumatologist.
Whether you need treatment for arthritis, an autoimmune disease or gout, IBJI rheumatologists are here to help provide you with the necessary care for your condition. Get the relief you are seeking with the help of IBJI.
Check out IBJI’s additional online resources for rheumatology care to learn more about conditions and read patient testimonials.
*The blog is for general information and educational purposes only regarding musculoskeletal conditions. The information provided does not constitute the practice of medicine or other healthcare professional services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor-patient relationship is formed. Readers with musculoskeletal conditions should seek the advice of their healthcare professionals without delay for any condition they have. The use of the information is at the reader’s own risk. The content is not intended to replace diagnosis, treatment or medical advice from your treating healthcare professional.