An in-depth report on the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of gout.
- Gout is a painful inflammatory arthritis condition caused by deposits of uric acid crystals in the joints and soft tissues. The painful attacks often begin at night and may last for a week.
- 8.3 million people in the U.S. have gout. This number is growing because of an aging population, the rise in obesity, increasing numbers of people who also have other conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, and/or diabetes. The use of diuretics by persons with cardiovascular disease is another cause of the increase in gout.
Treatment and Management
- Some medications are aimed at treating acute attacks by reducing pain and inflammation in the joints and other tissues.
- Other medications also prevent future attacks by lowering uric acid in the body.
- These medications are generally well tolerated and may include allopurinol, febuxostat, and probenecid.
- When medications to lower uric acid levels are first started, flare-ups of gout are more likely. Thus, it is important to take medications to prevent flare-ups during this time.
- Lifestyle changes are important in preventing attacks and managing the condition. Measures include losing weight, limiting foods and beverages that have the chemical purine, and limiting alcohol.