A gout flare-up causes deeply unpleasant pain and swelling the first time it happens, and future bouts can become more frequent and intense if the condition is left untreated. At Houston Rheumatology and Arthritis Specialists in Katy, Texas, board-certified rheumatologist Kiran Farheen, MD, is skilled in diagnosing, treating, and managing conditions affecting your joints such as gout. Call or schedule an appointment online today for help managing gout and stopping it from returning.
Gout is a type of arthritis that results from a buildup of uric acid, and most commonly affects the joint at the base of your big toe. Uric acid normally leaves your body when you urinate. With gout, however, excessive levels of uric acid lead to the formation of crystals in your joints, causing painful inflammation.
When you have gout, you usually experience sudden attacks in the middle of the night or early in the morning. The characteristic gout symptom is feeling like your joints are on fire. In addition to this pain, the affected joint is warm, stiff, red, tender, and swollen.
Unlike other common forms of arthritis like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, gout mostly develops because of what you eat. You’re at a higher risk of elevated uric acid levels if your diet is high in:
Gout is more common in men than women, especially men between the ages of 40-50. Additionally, you’re more likely to develop gout if you:
Gout is also partly genetic. If you have a family member with gout, you’re more likely to develop the condition.
If you’re in the middle of a gout attack, Dr. Farheen treats it with pain medication. This helps you tolerate the most painful part of the attack. The symptoms usually peak within the first 36 hours, then subside and fade within 3-10 days.
Dr. Farheen focuses on managing your uric acid levels as a gout attack is usually a sign that you need to make changes to your diet and lifestyle. If you don’t address the underlying causes of gout, attacks become worse and more frequent. When untreated, you may experience gout attacks several times a year, and they’re often long-lasting, affecting not only your big toe but your ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, and fingers as well.
With Dr. Farheen’s supervision and guidance, you can control gout by eating a healthy diet and reducing your alcohol consumption. She may also prescribe medication that directly regulates your uric acid levels, and if you’re taking diuretics, she may recommend an alternative kidney medication.
To learn more about managing gout and preventing flare-ups, call Houston Rheumatology and Arthritis Specialists or schedule an appointment online today.